The San Francisco 49ers did what no other team has been able to do against the New Orleans Saints in over 20 years - hold them scoreless for an entire game. And as luck would have it, the last team to shut out the Saints was San Francisco in the final game of the 2001 regular season. Sunday's 13-0 victory was a defensive struggle in which DeMeco Ryans' unit robbed New Orleans of two scoring opportunities inside the 10 yard line and limited the rushing attack to just 63 yards.
"To hold a team to a goose-egg in the NFL, that ain't easy," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said. "Especially in the couple of short fields that they had. But we've got a hell of a defense and I love playing with those guys. They're some dogs out there."
Offensively, the 49ers did not have the electric performance they did in Mexico City, but that side of the ball wasn't without its bright spots. Wide receiver Jauan Jennings hauled in his first touchdown of the season, and rookie running back Jordan Mason took more substantial offensive snaps, gaining 25 yards on five carries.
The victory creates some separation in the NFC West standings with the 49ers improving to 7-4 on the year. Since the Seattle Seahawks lost to the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday, the 49ers are now riding a four-game win streak while every other team in the division have lost at least two-straight games.
Here are San Francisco's top performers from Week 12:
The 49ers All-Pro left tackle made the "top offensive performers" for back-to-back weeks. Williams earned an 84.9 overall grade for his 70 snaps of work in Sunday afternoon's matchup. His run-blocking grade of 81.1 was second only to Jennings.
"Few tackles in NFL history stack up with Trent Williams when he's at his best — and Williams was near his best on Sunday," the PFF staff wrote in their game recap.
The rookie running back got more involved in the ground game in Week 12 with Elijah Mitchell and Christian McCaffrey both dealing with knee injuries at some point during the game. Mason earned a 91.4 overall grade for his nine snaps of work and may be called upon again in the coming weeks depending on the availability of the 49ers more veteran backs.
The veteran linebacker helped set the tone early for the 49ers defense, forcing a fumble on the Saints opening drive that was recovered by Ebukam and helped set up San Francisco's first field goal. Warner earned an 89.6 overall grade after closing out Sunday's game with 5.0 total tackles, a quarterback pressure and allowing just one reception on three targets in addition to the forced fumble.
"Niners linebacker Fred Warner made plays in all facets of the game on Sunday afternoon," the PFF staff added. "Targeted three times, he allowed one catch for 20 yards, but he also forced an incompletion on the other two targets. He added three stops against the run and a QB hit as a pass-rusher to cap off a solid all-around display."
The defensive lineman was the second-highest graded player on the 49ers defense coming away with an 83.9 mark. Ebukam had four pressures, 2.0 tackles and a fumble recovery against the Saints.
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