SANTA CLARA -- 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh admitted Monday he didn't make the greatest use of his challenges in Sunday's 23-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

"I was kind of biting my nails on that with no challenges left and almost 2 1/2 quarters left in the game, hoping that doesn't come back and bite me," Harbaugh said. "Fortunately, it didn't, but I don't want to put our team in that position again."

Harbaugh challenged a Drew Brees 8-yard completion to tailback Darren Sproles in the first quarter, claiming an illegal forward pass, but the play was upheld. Early in the second quarter, he unsuccessfully challenged an incompletion ruling when receiver Jonathan Baldwin juggled a throw from quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Harbaugh said the club didn't have the video evidence to support the first challenge in which the coach thought Brees threw the ball past the line of scrimmage.

"The second one, we really felt like we had the video evidence," Harbaugh said. "We knew the ball got juggled, but we were hoping it would have been reversed."

The 49ers subsequently scored anyway on the next play, an 11-yard Kaepernick pass to Anquan Boldin.

Harbaugh said he has to coach better in general.

"The mindset is, if you don't win the game, you don't feel good as a coach," he said. "If you want to feel better, coach better ... that's what I tell myself."

Follow Carl Steward on Twitter at twitter.com/stewardsfolly.



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