NFL Game Summary - New Orleans at San Francisco
(Monday, September 20th)
Final Score: New Orleans 25, San Francisco 22
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Garrett Hartley kicked a 37-yard field
goal on the final play of the game, lifting the Saints to a 25-22 win over San
Francisco in what may have been a costly victory for New Orleans.
Running back Reggie Bush was carted to the locker room in the fourth quarter
with an apparent leg injury. He was helped off the field after falling on the
football during a muffed punt return.
Drew Brees threw for two touchdowns and led the Saints (2-0) on the final
seven-play, 51-yard drive by hitting Marques Colston with a big 30-yard
connection to the San Francisco 18. Brees finished the night 28-of-38 passing
for 254 yards with two scores. This was the Saints' sixth straight win
over the 49ers.
"We just weren't going to turn the ball over," Saints coach Sean Payton said.
"We were going to be smart. It's a good win."
Frank Gore scored on a seven-yard run with 1:19 left for the 49ers, but Alex
Smith's two-point completed conversion pass to Vernon Davis was ruled to be
short of the end zone. Upon video review, officials ruled Davis caught the
ball in the end zone before being pushed out to the half-yard line by Roman
Harper, which ultimately tied the game.
Smith finished 23-of-32 for 275 yards with a TD and two interceptions for
San Francisco (0-2), which had four turnovers. Gore rushed 20 times for 112
yards. It was his 21st career game with at least 100 yards rushing, breaking
the franchise record held by Joe Perry.
"My mind set is when we stop defeating ourselves, when we stop putting the
ball on the ground, when we stop doing things to hurt ourselves, we're going
to be a good football team," 49ers coach Mike Singletary said. "How good? That
remains to be seen. That is my feeling after this game."
Bush injured his right leg during a punt return with 6:58 remaining. He muffed
the catch and fell on the football. Bush tried leaving the field under his own
power, only to fall down. He was assisted to the sideline. He was then carted
to the locker room and was on crutches after the contest.
The defending Super Bowl champions, coming off a 14-9 win over Minnesota,
capitalized off a turnover to expand their lead to 22-14. Phillip Adams muffed
a punt return, and Courtney Roby fell on the ball at the 14 for the Saints.
San Francisco's defense stiffened at the one, and Hartley drilled a 19-yard
field goal with 2:12 remaining.
Smith then moved the 49ers 82 yards in eight plays, culminating with Gore's TD
run up the middle. Smith scrambled for a big 12-yard gain during the drive.
After the controversial two-point conversion, Brees found Pierre Thomas for
gains of eight and 14 yards. Two plays later, 49ers safety Dashon Goldson had
his back to the ball when Colston caught a pass over the middle with 19
seconds left. After a four-yard pass to Jeremy Shockey, Brees signaled for a
timeout with two seconds left. Following a false start penalty, Hartley
knuckled through a low trajectory kick that appeared to be tipped, but the
Saints got the win and are off to a 2-0 start in consecutive seasons for the
first time in franchise history.
"We've shown we can win in a lot of ways," Brees said. "To be battle-tested
like this just in the first two weeks of the season is going to serve us very
well as we move forward."
There was trouble right at the start for the 49ers as a third down shotgun
snap went over the head of Smith, who batted the ball out of the end zone for
a safety just 1:32 into the game. Brees hit Bush with a six-yard score for a
9-0 lead to finish New Orleans' first possession.
Smith was picked off by Harper later in the first quarter and Adams muffed
another punt return, but the 49ers successfully challenged the fumble ruling
and retained possession.
Smith threw a 12-yard TD pass to Gore with just under 10 minutes left in the
half and the 49ers were threatening to go ahead before the break, but tight
end Delanie Walker fumbled the ball away after making a reception inside the
New Orleans 10 with a minute left.
The 49ers did move in front, 14-9, with 6:51 left in the third on a two-yard
scoring run from Anthony Dixon, but Brees' three-yard TD pass to David Thomas
sent the Saints ahead again before the end of the quarter.
Hartley's 46-yard field goal 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth expanded the New
Orleans lead to 19-14, and Smith was picked off by Tracy Porter at the New
Orleans 10 on the ensuing possession.
"There's some better things to take away from it, but we're still killing
ourselves, turnovers in the red zone," Smith said when comparing Monday's
defeat to a 31-6 season-opening loss at Seattle. "It definitely hurts."
At halftime, the 49ers retired the uniform No. 80 of Hall of Fame wide
receiver Jerry Rice. He also received his Hall of Fame ring...Thomas had 18
carries for 46 yards and eight receptions for 57 yards...Gore also had seven
catches for 56 yards...Saints cornerback Randall Gay suffered a concussion in
the first quarter.
09/21 03:15:28 ET
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