My heart sank as the no-name QB for San Francisco marched his team down the field in the 49ers final drive. They were now in field goal range, and just as I had reconciled my doubts of an overtime victory, a final touchdown was scored.

So what happened? How could this high powered offense be out gunned at their own game? The Cow’s conclusion: dirty play on the part of the 49ers.

There were a number of instances throughout the contest, but the most critical one was on the very first drive of the game. Dante Whitman went head first all the way to stop Pierre Thomas as he was only a few yards away from the end-zone. Before that moment, the Saints showed their true form, by quickly taking the ball downfield, and looking to get ahead early. Everything was clicking, and the Saints had good momentum.

That all changed when Whitman put his head down and executed a classic illegal helmet to helmet hit on Thomas. The shot seemed to instantly render Thomas unconscious, causing the fumble. To add insult to injury, the 49ers then piled onto Thomas, with no regard for what had just happened.

It was this single play that then shook the Saints and set the to e for much of the game. In the end, it was also the difference I. The game, as an additional touchdown would have put the Saints in the NFC game.