49ers haven't forgotten Saints' blitz exhibition
Five months after the fact, an NFL preseason game could actually mean something.
On the cusp of the franchise's first playoff game in nine years, the 49ers can look back to August and savor memories of the sucker punches their offense took in New Orleans. They shouldn't need extra motivation for Saturday's showdown, but after the unexpected menu of blitzes the Saints served up in the exhibition, the 49ers carried their pride home in a doggie bag.
Who could blame them if they want to take that package and re-gift it after the holidays?
The defense could administer the most fitting payback, hitting Drew Brees at every opportunity, just as the Saints mauled Alex Smith in August or, even better, as thoroughly as New Orleans battered Brett Favre with repeated knockdowns after the throw in the NFC title game two years ago.
But Brees' protection tends to be impregnable and, besides, this particular fight belongs to the 49ers' offense. At this point, it might be prudent for every blocker on the team to play coy, embracing the concept of bygones. Joe Staley tried to get on board with that plan, but he couldn't help telling the truth. He admitted that New Orleans had disturbed him by violating an exhibition protocol that discourages blitzing.
"(On) the sidelines, we're like, 'They're blitzing every play. We have a week and a half of the offense (installed) right now.' So we weren't expecting that, no," he said. "... Watching the film, it was a great learning tool. ... But yeah, I was a little bit, a little upset about it."
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