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Niners' Ahmad Brooks: Maybe officials favored Saints

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Ahmad Brooks is steaming over his 15-yard personal foul that ended up as the key play in the loss to the New Orleans Saints -- Sunday's biggest game.

Brooks laid a vicious hit across the top of Saints quarterback Drew Brees' shoulder pads, causing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Patrick Willis.

If the play stood, it would have given the 49ers the ball near midfield with a three-point lead and just over three minutes remaining. Their odds of winning plummeted when Brees kept the ball at the 49ers' 30-yard line instead.

"I didn't hit him with my hand or my helmet," Brooks said, via the San Francisco Chronicle. "I basically bear-hugged him. That's just how football is played. I think this s--- is bull----. Football, the way they call stuff these days, it's watered down. It ain't real no more."

It was a borderline hit. It's easy to identify with Brooks' frustration on a game-changing call. At the same time, one can see how a referee would see the hit as a clothesline across the neck in real-time game speed.

For better or worse, officials are going to keep protecting marquee players at football's most important position.

"It was at home," Brooks said. "It was Drew Brees. And maybe the officials were for the New Orleans Saints a little bit more than the 49ers. I think it's B.S., man."

We've seen the Packers struggle to make plays without signal-caller Aaron Rodgers. If calls like this one save us from watching Luke McCown try to move the Saints' offense, we'll have to accept the occasional complaints about a sport gone soft.

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