MORE: Updated NFL playoff picture49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played out of his mind against the Saints, completing 26 of his 35 passes for 349 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception for a passer rating of 131.7. Albeit in a losing effort, Drew Brees was just as impressive in going 29-of-40 passing for 249 yards, 5 TDs and a passer rating of 138.4.Including Garoppolo’s four TDs and one from wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on a trick play, the 49ers had five TD passes in a game for the first time since 1990. Receiving-wise, Sanders caught seven passes for 157 yards and another TD.GOULD. GAME. WINNER. pic.twitter.com/JBa6ZhuqNm— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 8, 2019Such wild stats from this game are easy to find thanks to a monster first half for both teams. Sunday’s game was just the the third NFL game over the last 55 years in which both teams scored 27 or more points in the first half (Colts-Bengals in 2005; Packers-Colts in 1997). When it was all said and done, the teams combined for 94 points, 981 total yards and 53 first downs.Here are the biggest takeaways from the Week 14 barnburner in New Orleans.The NFL playoff picture doesn’t lie.With their win, the 49ers hold the No. 1 seed in the NFC playoffs — at least until the Seahawks play the Rams on “Sunday Night Football.” The Saints with their loss dropped to the No. 3 seed, just behind the Packers.The bottom line, though, regardless of seeding: San Francisco and New Orleans clearly are two of the best teams in a loaded conference. They’re also two of the best in the NFL.Even the other NFC contenders in Green Bay and Seattle (and, sure, in Dallas) should hope to avoid the Saints and 49ers in the playoffs.The 49ers’ offense as a whole continues to be diverse and fun to watch, but Garoppolo proved himself Sunday on multiple occasions. His biggest moment, of course, came on the game-winning drive; the seven-play possession began with just 53 seconds remaining, was extended by Garoppolo’s 39-yard completion to tight end George Kittle on a fourth-and-2, and was capped by Gould’s game-winner.Garoppolo was clutch throughout the game, and San Francisco as a result converted on six of its 12 third-down situations.NO [email protected] | #GoNiners pic.twitter.com/g3vprcCOpX— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 8, 2019The NFC’s top rushing offense entering the game added 162 yards in New Orleans on Sunday, too. Behind a strong set of linemen and tight ends, Raheem Mostert (69 yards on 10 carries) appears to be the best back in a scary-good rushing stable that includes Tevin Coleman and Matt Breida. Kittle, who finished with six catches for 67 yards, is the best tight end in football. And with Sanders and Samuel, Garoppolo finally has a trustworthy duo of receivers.Though the 49ers allowed 46 points Sunday thanks in part to some injuries on defense (more on that later), they still have a strong unit. Nick Bosa continued his freakish play in a tough matchup against Saints right tackle Ryan Ramczyk. Richard Sherman and the secondary as a whole did a good job for the most part on superstar receiver Michael Thomas, who did most of his damage (134 yards on 11 catches) in the fourth quarter.Despite the loss, New Orleans still has to feel good about itself as the playoffs approach. Brees remains his efficient, elite self. He connected with nine different receivers Sunday and distributed his five touchdowns to four different pass-catchers.Mike’s just been waitin’ for the right [email protected] | #ProBowlVote | #SAINTS pic.twitter.com/PwJtPLEOrP— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 8, 2019In a game fullback Zach Line had to miss, do-it-all player Taysom Hill filled in with some admirable work at that position among his other duties. Alvin Kamara struggled yet again with just 25 yards on 13 carries, but the Saints as a whole managed 116 rushing yards on 27 carries, with Latavius Murray doing most of the damage. The Saints are a great team, and their loss to the 49ers in a game that came down to a couple plays in the final minute doesn’t change that fact.Injuries are hurting the 49ers.Jaquiski Tartt suffered crack ribs in the 49ers’ loss to the Ravens last week, forcing him to miss Sunday’s game against the Saints. Marcell Harris started in place of Tartt at strong safety, and New Orleans wasted no time picking on the backup.Two of the Saints’ touchdowns in the first half, one a Drew Brees pass to Jared Cook and the other to Josh Hill, were scored against Harris’ coverage. The 49ers also missed Tartt’s impact on special teams, as the home team was able to get itself in favorable field position with chunk returns, especially in the first half.WE’RE COOKIN’ 🔥🍽@JaredCook89 | #SAINTS pic.twitter.com/RRDcniT7nB— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) December 8, 2019To avoid getting picked on at strong safety moving forward as it fights for playoff seeding, San Francisco will need a healthy Tartt in the lineup. That’s especially the case against the Rams and Seahawks in Weeks 16 and 17, respectively.To make injury matters for the 49ers worse, standout center Weston Richburg was carted off the field in New Orleans with what appeared to be a nasty right leg injury. Defensive end Dee Ford, who had missed the team’s last two games with a bad hamstring, aggravated that injury against the Saints early in the first half and was ruled out for the rest of the game.Left tackle Joe Staley was seen holding his back in pain late in the game. Fullback Kyle Juszczyk left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent concussion. Cornerback Richard Sherman had to limp off the field on multiple occasions and failed to finish the game.This rash of injuries is a big deal for a team with Super Bowl aspirations. The NFL teams that succeed in the playoffs are not just the most talented; generally, they also are the healthiest. The Saints are (still) vulnerable in the secondary.The 49ers’ second touchdown of Sunday’s game will not go on Bell’s career highlight tape.First the safety fell down while getting beat on a deep route by Emmanual Sanders. Then, after Sanders caught the ball, Bell had a chance to make a touchdown-saving tackle after recovering from his initial fall. He missed that tackle badly. A matchup featuring two of the NFL’s best teams living up to the hype and delivering the most entertaining game of the season is not a given. So thank you, 49ers and Saints, for doing just that.San Francisco escaped New Orleans with a last-second, 48-46 win thanks to a 30-yard Robbie Gould field goal at the buzzer Sunday. Simply put: It was the best game of the 2019 NFL season thus far, and moving forward, it’ll be hard to beat. 😱@JimmyG_10 to @ESanders_10 #ProBowlVote pic.twitter.com/RsAmpfDR2r— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) December 8, 2019Likewise, Apple had his share of coverage breakdowns against a 49ers offense that clearly was targeting the Saints cornerback in man-to-man situations. In a secondary that features Marshon Lattimore and Marcus Williams, these are the two clear weak spots.This weakness isn’t a new development, and the Saints are aware of it. But they weren’t able to hide Bell and Apple on Sunday against a team they could see again in the playoffs.Other NFC postseason contenders like the Seahawks and Packers would be all over those matchups, too.