In some divergent reality, that gangbusters Saints/49ers game didn't come down to the teams trading scores like heavyweight blows in the final few minutes. In this alternate universe, Alex Smith scampered free for 27 yards, with a clear path to the end zone, and took a knee. The 49ers would run out the clock before kicking the go-ahead field goal. I thought alternate realities were supposed to be exciting?
Florio posits what Smith should have done, as he found himself with nothing but daylight and the clock ticking down close to the two-minute warning. À la Brian Westbrook in 2007, Florio argues that Smith should have kneeled at the one-yard-line. With the Saints down to one timeout, three kneeldowns and a field goal later, and the Niners would have been up two points with about 40 seconds to play.
Is that preferable to being up five (seven with a successful two-point conversion) with more than two minutes remaining? The San Francisco defense had held New Orleans to 24 points in 58 minutes of action. Do you trust them to keep Drew Brees out of field goal range with 40 seconds left to work? It's a legitimate question, but more importantly and more realistically, do you expect Alex Smith to even be aware of all the possibilities—clock, point differentials, timeouts remaining—as he's scrambling for his life, just trying to convert on third down? Every play that's not a Crabtree drop should taste like manna from heaven.
Saturday's exciting finish shouldn't have happened [Pro Football Talk]