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November 27, 2013
Donte Whitner on Drew Brees: He can't take a hit


The Rams are the next team on the schedule, but safety Donte Whitner is still steamed about the team that beat the 49ers 10 days ago -- the Saints.

The most pivotal play of that game occurred late in the fourth quarter when Ahmad Brooks was flagged for a 15-yard penalty for a hit on quarterback Drew Brees that caused a fumble, which the 49ers recovered. Whitner said that if Brees were a little bigger and little more robust, the 49ers would have walked away with a win.

"He did everything he's supposed to do," Whitner said of Brooks. "It's not his fault that Drew Brees is a little guy and can't really take a hit. But that's football. And (that play) really would have won the football game. With three minutes left in the game, if we get one first down ... Even if we have to punt, we feel we would have won that football game. We feel like it cost us the game."

Given a chance to clarify, Whitner did not back down from his assessment that Brees' stature played a role in the penalty. for the record, Brees is two inches taller than Whitner.

"He can't take a hit," Whitner said. "Ahmad is what - 260 pounds. He's what - 6-foot, 190? Because it looks bad. Because this guy's in the weight room and he does his job, rush the quarterback and put a hit on him. It's part of the game of football. (Brees) can't take a hit, and Drew Brees and those guys are over there celebrating. But we kind of have a formula against those guys and hopefully we'll see them again in the playoffs."

Whitner's main beef is with the rules that penalize defensive players for what he considers legal hits. He was fined $21,000 for his own hit on Rams receiver Chris Givens in Week 4. Whitner said he appealed the fine but has not heard back from the league. He said he knew at the time that Brooks' penalty was going to cost the 49ers the game.

"And I know it's going to cost another team when it really matters," Whitner said. "And it might be the playoffs and it might be the Super Bowl. So we really need to get something done about that - replay, something, so it doesn't cost us football games. Because we really deserved to win that game."

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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