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SANTA CLARA -- It was a lot easier for Drew Brees to find the humor in some of the Internet hi-jinx that resulted from his crushing blow at the hands of 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks last season because of the way things turned out.
Brooks dislodged the ball -- and nearly dislodged Brees’ head from his shoulders -- on a key fourth-quarter player.
Referee Tony Corrente penalized Brooks for unnecessary roughness to prevent the 49ers from a possible game-winning play. The late-game fumble was overturned, and the Saints went on to kick a tying field goal on that drive. New Orleans won the game 23-20 in regulation on a last-second field goal. The teams meet again on Sunday at the Superdome.
Brooks was originally fined $15,750 for the play. But his fine was overturned when appeals officer Matt Birk sided with him.
[REWIND: Brooks wins appeal of hit on Brees]
“I don’t think he hit me as hard as he could have,” Brees said when asked if that was among the hardest hits he’s ever endured.
“He just kind of caught me just right. My momentum was kind of going that way a little bit. But, yeah, it all happened really fast. I’m just glad we kept the ball and were able to get points and another opportunity later on to win the game.”
Brees said he was amused by all the creativity that came from that, including some well-circulated photos that were doctored to show him with an abnormally long neck as the result of the hit.
“People had a lot of fun with Photoshop after that, didn’t they?” Brees said. “I had the 'Go-Go Gadget' neck. Listen, I got good laugh out of it, too. I’d go on Twitter, somebody shows me a picture of what people had Photoshopped. After the fact, the fact that you’re still alive and you win the game, it’s all good.”