As the Saints prepare for the playoff match against San Francisco, some 49ers are complaining about the way they were treated when they came to the Superdome for a pre-season game last August. They say the Saints blitzed too much and didn't give them a fair shake.
It was the first game of the preseason at the 'Dome in early August and the Saints defense came with blitz, after blitz, after blitz. 18 blitzes in the first half alone. They sacked 'Niners quarterback Alex Smith six times and forced two fumbles.
This week, 'Niners linebacker Joe Staley complained to Bay Area reporters he was upset about all those blitzes, adding it wasn't fair for the Saints to come on so strong in a pre-season game.
And then, rumors began to swirl: an unattributed report floating on the internet that Sean Payton was miffed because 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh hadn't returned a phone call before the game ... so all that blitzing was retribution.
Payton says that's a load of nonsense: "It was just a bogus report. What do you say to that? All of a sudden now it's three months in and we're still talking about it or being asked questions about it the week before an important playoff game."
In fact, the Saints have shown throughout the season that blitzing is the team's favorite defensive tactic.
"Confidence is contagious, in that respect," says Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams. "Our guys have done a really good job in a lot of different situations throughout the course of the year."
So chances are, if the 49ers thought they saw too many blitzes from the Saints last time, they'd better be prepared Saturday.
During the regular season this year, the Saints have blitzed more than any other team in the NFL.