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You can't heap all the blame on Donte Whitner, but he did play an especially crucial role in San Francisco's defensive letdown at the end of the game.
After starting the game with a strong—albeit, illegal—hit on Pierre Thomas to force a fumble inside the five yard-line, Whitner whiffed on two tackles that could have cost the 49ers their season.
He let Darren Sproles scamper for a touchdown off a simple underneath pattern with four minutes left in the game and the team up six. Big no-no.
He repeated the sin mere minutes later by going for the ball instead of securing the tackle on a deep pass to Jimmy Graham. Again with his team up more than field goal, Whitner's poor judgment allowed the Saints to take a late lead.
Had Alex Smith and Vernon Davis not bailed him out twice, Whitner would have been the post-game goat.
We've long known San Francisco's defensive weakness was against the pass, and in the crucial moments last Saturday, that bugaboo resurfaced.
Eli Manning and the Giants present many of the same challenges the Saints did. There will be big-play attempts aplenty, and it'll be on Donte Whitner to stop them.