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4 Takeaways: One of the most frustrating losses in a long time

The Saints couldn't get a lucky bounce to save their lives versus the 49ers on Sunday.

NEW ORLEANS — I think this one will go down as one of the most frustrating Saints games in a long time.

And in a lot of ways, this game was a microcosm of the entire season.

The missed opportunities on offense were maddening.

Taysom Hill should have caught that touchdown pass. Juwan Johnson should have caught one too.

But here's the thing.

The Saints did a bunch of things well Sunday, but missed opportunities, turnovers, and just bad luck killed them.

#4: Bad Bounces

Every bounce Sunday went against the Saints. Alvin Kamara's two fumbles weren't bad luck, they were excellent defensive plays coupled with poor ball security.

But in both cases, the Saints had the first chance to recover. 

On the second fumble, at the goal line, Juwan Johnson had the first chance to recover it in the endzone and he whiffed.

I'm guessing you know this, but an american football is weirdly shape. 

Most sports have balls that are round. Such as a basketball, a golf ball, or a soccer ball. Because they're round, they bounce in a manner that is predictable.

The weirdly shaped American football does not, and Sunday, every odd, oblong bounce was away from the Saints.

On the game's only touchdown, Tyrann Mathieu got his right hand on the ball.

I think he thought he was tipping it to himself. I think he thought he had an interception.

Instead, the weirdly shaped ball bounced over Mathieu and to Jauan Jennings in the back of the endzone. For 60 minutes, the Saints could not get a bounce.

#3 Tenacious D

The defense was terrific overall. 

In his first four games with the 49ers, Christian McCaffrey was targeted in the passing game 24 times and got 47 carries. On those 71 plays, he averaged 5.5 yards per play.

Sunday against the Saints, the 49ers went to CMC 17 times for just 2.9 yards per play.

The Saints held San Francisco under their season average for total yards, rushing yards, and passing yards, and 10 points under their season average for scoring.

Paulson Adebo and the corners played their best game of the season.

Even the one 49ers touchdown was partially luck.

#2 Saints Played Hard

The team played hard, maybe not effectively overall, but the effort was excellent. 

There was no quit in the team, the defense was flying around. 

I think that shines favorably on Dennis Allen. 

I'm not saying it'll help him keep his job, but I think this team is gonna have to get some more wins to do that, but the fact that his players are still playing this hard, in what's been a difficult season, does mean something.

#1 Not Over Yet

It's stupid, I know it, But this season is not over yet. Next Monday night, the Saints play Tampa Bay.

If they lose, they'd be two-and-a-half games back in the NFC South with four to play, and it would be over. 

But if they win, whether they deserve it or not, they're in the hunt. 

And here's the thing - Tampa Bay was terrible Sunday in losing to a bad team in Cleveland. And the Falcons were not good either in losing to the Commanders. 

Right now, nobody deserves to win this division, but the NFL is gonna force somebody to win it.

And in their final five games, the Saints play all three of their division rivals, plus Philadelphia and Cleveland. 

Lose Monday night, and it's over.

Win and the Saints head into their bye week with a shot at the playoffs despite the frustration in Levi's Stadium.

I know that's ridiculous, but it's also true, and that's my four takeaways from San Francisco.  

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