Errors leave Saints scoreless against 49ers

Jeremy Rosen, Sports Editor

Matthew Tate

The New Orleans Saints suffered their worst loss of the season in an ugly 13-0 shutout against the San Francisco 49ers. Two costly fumbles by Alvin Kamara and several sloppy penalties throughout the game gave the Saints their most embarrassing loss yet. 

The loss snapped the Saints’ streak of 332 consecutive games without a shutout, which was the longest active streak in the NFL. The last shutout was all the way back in 2002, when Aaron Brooks was the starting quarterback in New Orleans. The team lost in brutal fashion 38-0, coincidentally to the 49ers as well.

The offense struggled throughout the entire game. Andy Dalton had a serviceable day under center, throwing for 204 yards but was unable to elevate the offense around him. Chris Olave was only able to pick up 62 receiving yards on five receptions, and Rashid Shaheed was the only other receiver to get over 40 receiving yards.

Dalton had the potential to toss two touchdowns late in the game, but both attempts were dropped by the receivers. A throw to tight end Juwan Johnson in the end zone was short and covered by 49ers linebacker Fred Warner. Then Dalton threw a short pass to Taysom Hill, but he wasn’t able to grab the very catchable ball.

The rushing attack was simply ugly to watch in this game. The usually steady Kamara had his worst game of the season, only picking up 13 yards on the ground for just 1.9 yards per carry. He fumbled the ball away at midfield on the team’s first drive, giving the 49ers good field position to make a field goal. When the team made it deep into San Francisco territory early in the fourth quarter, Kamara had another costly fumble on the 1-yard line. Before this game, he only had one lost fumble the entire season.

The defense did more than enough to contain the star-studded 49ers offense. The return of defensive ends Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport from injuries helped to contain the 49ers offense to just 4.9 yards per play and just 13 points. A big sack by Shy Tuttle forced a turnover on downs and prevented a red zone score in the second quarter. 

The Saints shot themselves in the foot with penalties whenever it looked like they could regain control of the game. In the third quarter, a false start by Ryan Ramczyk on fourth down forced the team to take a 48 yard field goal instead of attempting the fourth down conversion. On Will Lutz’s only field goal attempt of the game, the kick soared wide left and handed the ball right back to San Francisco.

Later on in the quarter, rookie corner Alontae Taylor had a huge interception on Jimmy Garoppolo that would have placed the Saints on the 49ers eight yard line. However, the play was wiped away because of an illegal contact penalty called on Chris Harris Jr. 

The loss leaves the Saints with a 4-8 record and last place in the NFC South. They are technically still in the playoff race because of the weak division, but major changes would need to happen for the team to make a playoff push down the stretch of the regular season.

This week, the Saints will travel to Tampa Bay to play the Buccaneers on Monday Night Football, 7:15 CST.

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