Ouch. I swear, the 49ers were affecting the Saints' heads so hard, they had me reaching for the Advil. (And the bourbon.)

Now might be a good time to go ahead and remind ourselves that the Saints straight up own the Falcons. Own! And we won't have to wait a full 7 days to get the bad taste out of our mouths this week. So we've got that going for us. Until then, hey, at least everything else was coming up Milhouse around the NFC Sunday afternoon. Jeff Duncan and Pete Finney can dance on their graves all they want, but the Saints ain't dead just yet.

I must have been watching a different game than the Legits over at NOLA Media Group™ because I didn't see the Saints getting their asses kicked out there. If I did, I'd say so, but that's just not what I saw. I didn't see a team doing the best it possibly could against an obviously superior opponent, but who just weren't capable of hanging in and competing for 60 minutes because they just aren't good enough. I didn't see a Saints team that didn't belong on the field with the Mighty 49ers.

To the contrary, for the first 29 minutes and 29 seconds, I saw the 49ers on the ropes, and the Saints winding up to deliver a knockout blow just like they did last week in Oakland. I saw the Saints controlling the game. I saw the Saints get excruciatingly close to putting the 49ers away early. So close. Hell, even in the second half, I didn't see the 49ers winning "going away" as Duncan described it. The second half I saw was more a case of death by 1000 paper cuts, not a case of being beaten to death with a baseball bat.

It's hard to argue that the Saints weren't "outphysicaled" in the second half. Once the 49ers pass rush was in a position to start pinning their ears back, it got pretty ugly. No argument there. And it stands to reason, since the 49ers might be the most physical team in the league, and the Saints damn sure aren't. The Saints just aren't built that way, and they haven't been for a long, long time now. And that's okay, every team in the league finds itself at a disadvantage in some aspect of the game just about every week. That's not the exception, it's the rule. There's no one "correct" way to construct a team and there's no one "correct" way to approach compensating for a disadvantage and winning a game in spite of it.

Which is precisely what the Saints were doing, quite well in fact, right up until Drew's brain fart with 31 seconds remaining in the first half. And hey, shit happens sometimes, even to the best of 'em. Am I right, Tracy Porter?

The Saints and the 49ers are two completely different kinds of teams, with two completely different approaches to winning games. Usually when that's the case, it comes down to what kind of game it ends up being. If it turns out to be your kind of game, you win, and if it turns out to be their kind of game, they win. In the first half, it was the Saints' kind of game. But it all got flipped on its head over the course of four minutes and two incredibly unfortunate pivotal plays. And of course the Saints were fighting a losing battle at that point, once it became the 49ers kind of game. Just as the 49ers were struggling to survive before then, when it was the Saints' kind of game.

Hell, a big part of the reason that the loss stings so much is precisely because the Saints were perfectly capable of winning it. And they were well on their way, right up until Drew handed them 14 points on a platter. Credit to the 49ers for "making the plays" but it's the very definition of, if not necessarily a fluke, at least an outlier. I haven't looked it up, but I'd be shocked if that wasn't the first time in Drew's career that he's thrown two pick-sixes. And without them, it's a whole different game. Hell, I'd go as far as to say that even without just one of them, it's a whole different game.

Or in other words, as Dennis Green might say, "They are who we thought they were. And we let 'em of the hook."

Again. Guh.

But while the loss most certainly sucked, it doesn't change my opinion of how the Saints stack up right now against the rest of the NFC. I don't see any reason why it ought to.

I don't buy into the notion that the 49ers are just significantly superior, and the Saints just aren't capable of beating them because they're "too finesse" or anything like that. I damn sure don't buy into Duncan's notion that the 49ers are in the Saints' heads, and that the 49ers are to the Saints what the Saints are to the Falcons. That's just Duncan being Duncan.

I'll concede the obvious, that the 49ers are as bad a matchup for the Saints right now as any team in the league. But while the Saints have suffered two consecutive crushing defeats to the 49ers, it's not like the 49ers have just beaten the Saints into submission, not either time. To the contrary, the Saints have had them on the ropes both times. And in both games, the Saints have suffered nine separate misfortunes which ultimately buried them. No tailbacks in January, no right tackles in November. Five turnovers in January, two pick-sixes in November. And on and on like that.

Credit to the 49ers, but the Saints have given them an awful lot of help. Which I understand is kinda like saying "Sheesh, Uncle Bob has the worst luck when he's drinking." At some point, you have to consider the possibility that it ain't just bad luck. And I certainly won't argue with you if you say that the 49ers are simply the better team right now. All indications are that that's true, but the gap isn't nearly as wide as people have been suggesting since Sunday evening, and it certainly doesn't make the Saints a bunch of chumps.

Meantime, the Saints are no worse off than they were at the start of Sunday's games. Last weekend was a total wash. (Sure, Dallas and Washington crept back into the picture, I guess. But surely nobody's really taking them seriously, right?) And this weekend stacks up to be a whole lot like last weekend, with Seattle at Chicago, Minnesota at Green Bay, Tampa at Denver and Washington playing the Giants. So it's likely that the Saints will get to take a mulligan on last weekend as long as they beat the Falcons Thursday night.

And of course they're gonna beat the Falcons Thursday night. Because that's what the Saints do.

This thing ain't over yet. Not by a long shot. The 49ers may have affected the head Sunday afternoon, but they failed to kill it.

And while proofreading, it just occurred to me how bland this here post turned out. Wow. Just brutal. Well below our usual standards. Sheesh, pretty sure there's not even a single "fuck" in there. Talk about outliers. I'm pretty sure that's a first here at moosedenied. This must be what it's like to be a Legit. Or something. Just one of those weeks, I guess. Sorry about that, I'll do better next time.

Hey #RodneyWhite… lick a sack, you filet o' fuck.

Okay, that helped a little.

Please feel free to pimp us on your favorite social media service: