Game summary: Who's got it better than the 49ers?
Q4-:03/NO: On a repeat play, the Saints try some passing razzle-dazzle, the 49ers don't buy it, AND THAT'S IT. 49ERS WIN IN AN UPSET!!!!
Q4-:03: 1/10 for the Saints. Brees fades back, throws an incomplete pass underneath, and clock expires. But now the refs are talking. Harbaugh called timeout!!!
Q4-:09: Akers squibs it, Colston fields it and is thrown down at the NO 10 with :03 to play. One last shot for the Saints.
Q4-:09/SF: Akers to kick off to the Saints. The game's not over yet, folks.
Q4-:09/SF: AN AMAZING FINISH. AND VERNON DAVIS IS IN TEARS ON THE SIDELINE.
Q4-:09/SF: AKERS MAKES THE EXTRA POINT. SAN FRANCISCO 36, NEW ORLEANS 32.
Q4-:20: Gore picks up 7 on 1/10. Smith spikes it. On 3/3 ... SMITH HITS VERNON DAVIS FOR A TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!!!
Q4-:49: On 1/10, Smith misses a long attempt. On 2/10, Smith hits Vernon Davis who takes it inside the NO 25. Their inside Akers filed goal range .
Q4-1:32/SF: 49ers start at their own 15 after the Kasay kickoff. On 1/10, Gore picks up 7 on a checkdown pass. On 2/3, Gore picks up 11 on an underneath pass for a first down. 1:00 left.
Q4-1:37: Saints make the two-point conversion. New Orleans 32, San Francisco 29.
Q4-1:37 SAINTS SCORE!!!!! BREES 66 YARDS TO TE JIMMY GRAHAM, WHO BEATS TACKLERS TO RUN IT IN. SAINTS 30, 49ERS 29.
Q4-1:54/NO: On 1/10, Brees throws incomplete as the pocket collapses. On 2/10, he throws complete for 12 to Marquis Colston. First down with 1:48 to go.
Q4-2:00: Ready for a nailbiter of a finish. If you're a Niners fan, you only wish the offense had woken up a little earlier.
Q4-2:00/NO: On 1/10, Brees hits Sproles, who picks up 11 for a first down. That's the two-minute warning.
Q4-2:11: David Akers kicks off. Darren Sproles takes it five yards deep in the end zone and brings it out. Tackled at the 12. OK, now THIS is the game.
Q4-2:11/SF: 49ers go for a two-point conversion and fail as Gore is stopped on a run to the left. San Francisco 29, New Orleans 24.
Q4-2:11: TOUCHDOWN 49ERS!!!!! Alex Smith takes it in on a designed bootlaeg from the 28. Amazing.
Q4-2:18/SF: Stat: Saints have committed no penalties today.
Q4-3:10/SF: On 1/10, Gore picks up 4 to the NO 26. 2:30 to go. On 2/6, RB Kendall Hunter pushes down to te NO 23. Saints timeout. This is the game right here. 2:18 to go. But the 49ers are caught with an extra man in their offensive huddle for a 5-yard penalty. No 3rd down and 7 to go. 49ers take a timeout.
Q4-3:10/SF: On 2/10, Smith throws a beautiful rainbow pass to TE Vernon Davis, who takes it in stride and is down at NO 30.
Q4-4:02/SF: On 1/10, Smith to RB Kendall Hunter for a gain of 12 and a first down. 3:30 to go. On 1/10 from the SF 32, Smith's pass is knocked down at the line.
Q4-4:02: Kasay's kickoff goes out of the end zone. 49ers ball first and 10 at the SF 20.
Q4-4:02/NO: NO kicker John Kasay makes the PAT, and the Saints have the lead for the first time today. New Orleans 24, San Francisco 23.
Q4-4:20/NO: On 1/10, Brees makes his 57th pass attempt of the day, throws it out of bounds with Justin Smith in his face. On 2/10 from the SF 44, he hits Darren Sproles, who weaves his way to the end zone. TOUCHDOWN NEW ORLEANS!!!
Q4-5:30/NO: On 1/10, Brees complete to Robert Meachem for 5. On 2/6, he hits Sproles for 5 yards, bringing up 3rd and 1. Sproles carries, picks up 2 for a 1st down.
Q4-6:15/NO: On 1/10, Brees hits Colston for 11 and another first down.
Q4-7:15/NO: On 1/10, Brees to Sproles for 1 yard. On 2/9, Brees incomplete and almost intercepted. On 3/9, crowd is going crazy. Brees in shotgun, rolls left and hits WR Devery Henderson for a gain of 12.
Q4-7:36: NO's Darren Sproles takes the kickoff at the goal line and makes itout to the 20. Now, 49ers D vs. Drew Brees again.
Q4-7:36/SF: Akers makes a 37-yard FG try. San Francisco 23, New Orleans 17.
Q4-10:00/SF: On 1/10, RB Kenall Hunter picks up 4. Then a run for no gain. On 3/5, a Smith pass is deflected, Gore grabs it, and makes it back to the line of scrimmage. David Akers comes in to try a field goal inside 7:45 to go.
Q4-11:20/SF: From their own 36. HOLY CRAP. Frank Gore gets loose and busts a 42-yard run to the Saints 22.
Q4-11:20/NO: As if to answer that question, the defense puts on a fierce rush on 1/10, forcing Brees to desperately underhand the ball forward for an incompletion. They sack him on 2/10 for a loss of 17. On 3rd down, SF DL Justin Smith overwhelms a blocker and grabs Brees as he throws an incompletion. THAT WAS AN AMAZING SERIES. On 4th down, NO punter Thomas Morstead kicks to the SF 35 out of bounds, where Alex Smith will try to get something going.
Q4-11:30: If you're a San Francisco fan, this is where you get uneasy. The Saints defense have stopped the Niners cold. How long can the Niners defense stand up to the Drew Brees onslaught?
Q4-11:30/SF: On 4th and 4, Andy Lee blasts a punt to that Darren Sproles takes at the NO 5; he's dropped short of the 15. 1/10 NO and time for a TV break.
Q4-13:00/SF: San Francisco starts at the 28, and on 1/10 Smith hits WR Michael Crabtree. On 2/5, Gore struggles for a single yard. On 3rd and 4, Smith makes a poor throw on a short underneath pattern to WR Kyle Williams, who deflects the balls and the Saints nearly intercept it. Another three and out for the 49ers.
Q4 TV break: It's got to be said: This 49er defensive effort has been outstanding. The offense? Well, if you can't say anything nice. ...
Q4-13:30/NO: On 1/10, Brees incomplete to TE Jimmy Graham. ON 2/10, RB Chris Ivory runs into a crown and loses 3. On 3/13, Brees goes for everything and the ball bounces off WR Marquis Colston's hands in the end zone. Now John Kasay tries a 48-yard field goal ... and hits it. San Francisco 20, New Orleans 17 with 13:08 to go.
Q4-14:20: On 1/10, Brees complete to Colston for 9, then Chris Ivory runs for 5. 1/10 on SF 26.
Q4-15:00. Teams that are plus 4 in turnover ratio, as the Nines ae now, are 71-1 in the playoffs.
Q3-1:34/NO: SF punts and NO takes over at its own 29. On 1/10, Brees hits Darren Sproles for 12 and another 1st down. On the new 1/10, RB Chris Ivory gains 5. On 2/5, Brees hits Devery Henderson for 7 and a 1st down. And that's how the 3rd quarter ends, with New Orleans driving at the 49ers 39-yard line.
Q3-1:49/SF: On 3/10, Smith throws incomplete to Crabtree, and the 49ers get called again for offensive pass interference -- an illegal pick play. Very rare to see offensive interference. Almost unheard of to see it on consecutive plays.
Q3-1:49/SF: Ginn is down with an injury of some sort. That gives us pause to reflect that the 49ers offense is looking very anemic. To win, they'll need to step up. The defense can't win this alone.
Q3-1:49/SF: Niners get a first down on a screen to FB Bruce Miller. Then no gain on a run by RB Kendall Hunter. Ginn gets called for offensive pass interference on 2/10 pass play, and that brings up 3/10.
Q3-3:31/NO: Carlos Rogers breaks up Brees 3/10 pass to Arrington. NO's Morstead in to punt. Ginn faircatches at SF 15.
TV Break: Observation from Twitter crowd: @KreuzersKorner John Kreuzer
Last time #49ers were in the playoffs...there was no #twitter #myspace or #facebook
Q3-4:00/NO: SF DB Carlos Rogers makes a beautiful play to break up a sure touchdown pass from Brees to Adrian Arrington. On 2/10, Jimmy Graham drops a pass over the middle. On 3/10, SF takes timeout with 3:31 to go in quarter.
Q3-4:30/NO: A short run and then a completion to TE Jimmy Graham, 1/10 at 49ers 48.
Q3/6:31/NO: On 1/10 from the NO 14, Brees has about an hour to throw the ball but finds no one open and gets decked as he throws an incompletion. On 2/10, he hits Devery Henderson for a 17-yard game to make it 1/10 at NO 33.
Q3-6:31/SF: 49ers go three and out after a badly executed flea flicker for a loss, and a short pass to Frank Gore. Andy Lee punts 62 yards on 4th down to the NO 16.
Q3-7:48/SF: On 1/10, Ginn is stopped after a 2-yd. gain on a sweep. Watching replays of the hit Ginn took on that play, it occurs to me that football is a rough game.
Q3-8:43/NO: 3rd and 8 from SF 42. Brees in shotgun, sacked by 49ers DL Justin Smith for loss of 8. Thomas Morestead punts on 4th down to Ted Ginn Jr., who is down at SF 20 at 8:00.
Q3-9:15/NO: On 1/10, NO picks up 2 on interior run. On 2/8, Brees throws ball down as he's charged by SF DE Aldon Smith. On 3/8, Brees runs out of time as he waits for snap and calls a timeout at 8:43.
Q3-10:41/NO: On 1/10, Brees to Sproles out of backfield for 6. On 2/4, Brees rolls out right and finds WR Marquis Colston for a long gain, 32 yds. to SF 42.
Q3-10:41: SF kickoff out of end zone. Saints ball 1/10 at their 20.
Q3-10:41: David Akers 40-yard field goal attempt is good. San Francisco 20, Saints 14.
Q3-11:35/SF: On 1/10 from NO 26, Gore runs right for 3. On 2/7, Smith flees strong NO rush and throws ball away out of bounds. On 3/7, Smith throws incomplete off the hands of WR Michael Crabtree. 4th down, time for David Akers at 10:41.
Q3-11:35/SF: 49ERS RECOVER FUMBLE.
Q3-11:35: Andy Lee punts to Darren Sproles who takes it at the NO 21, sidesteps a tackle, then is buried as he moves forward to the 23. Niners say they have the ball.
Q3-13:00/SF: On 1/10, Smith incomplete to TE Vernon Davis. On 2/10, RB Kendall Hunter gets 1 yard going off-tackle right. On 3/9, Smith in shotgun is chased back to 20 and sacked for a loss of 14 at 12:00.
Q3-15:00/SF: New Orelans kickoff is touched back. On 1/10, Smith complete to Crabtree for 7. On 2/3, Gore batters his way forward for 2 yards. On 3/1: he lunges forward four 4 more yards for a 1st down at 13:20.
First Half summary: The 49ers are a cinch to win this game if they take the ball away from the Saints another three or four times in the second half. The statistic quoted on Fox Sports is that teams enjoying a +3 takeaway differential are 141-9 in playoff games.
Halftime: First half ends with Brees taking to his heels from Niner rush and flinging the ball out of bounds
Q2-:04/NO. On 1st and 10 from the SF 49, Brees incomplete to Devery Henderson down the middle. On 2nd and 10, Brees chased out of the pocket and coughs up the ball as he comes to line of scrimmage. Ruled incomplete pass--he clearly tried to flip it as he fell to the ground. 49ers take a timeout .
Q2-:29/SF: Smith incomplete long on right sideline to Kyle Williams. 2/10 with :24 left. On 2nd down, Smith loses the ball trying to move out of the pocket away from the rush. New Orleans recovers. Opportunity for NO w/ :17 left.
Q2-:35: NO punt on 4/7. Morstead's kick nearly blocked. :29 remaining, SF ball on its own 45.
Q2-:45/NO: On 1/10, Brees incomplete to Colston. On 2/10, Brees tries a screen to Sproles, whose brought down by 49ers DE Aldon Smith for loss of 4. On 3/14, Brees at the line, and they try the screen to Sproles again but he's stopped far short of a first down.
Q2-1:00/SF: Sorry folks -- fell a little behind on the play by play. 49ers picked up one first down on their possession, then were stopped just short of midfield and are forced to punt. Andy Lee launches it from the SF 40, Darren Sproles fair-caught the kick at NO 15.
Q2-1:50/SF: Brees went for broke on 3rd down and the pass was picked off by 49ers DB Tarell Brown, who's knocked down by intended receiver Devery Henderson.
Q2-2:00: 49ERS INTERCEPTION!!!
Q2-2:00 warning: Let's go out and call this a decisive moment in the game. The 49ers need to stop the Saints here. If they don't--if Brees moves them up the field for another touchdown, I think the Saints' roll will be hard to stop (even though the 49ers will receive the kickoff for the second half).
Q2/2:14: Brees is hit as he throws for an incompletion. 2/10: Brees in shotgun, throws to Sproles who is dropped after a short gain. 3/8 coming up.
Q2/2:14: Lee's punt goes into the end zone. Saints 1/10 at their 20.
Q2-2:22/SF: On 3/10, the Saints blitz and sack Smith for a loss of 10. Andy Lee in to punt.
Q2-2:29/SF: On 1st and 2nd down, Crabtree drops two passes from Smith. 3/10 coming up.
Q2-3:00/SF: A quick 49er first down, then a 9-yard pickup from Gore. And Smith throws a long, looping sideline pass to Davis for 20. 1/10 on NO. 40.
Q2-4:09: And that's why you can never take anything for granted against the Saints. Just a few minutes ago, they were looking at their fourth turnover of the game. If that call had gone the other way, and down 17-0 at the time, it would have looked like the rout was on. But they kept possession and scored, held the 49ers, then marched down the field. Looked easy. This is a long, long way from over.
Q2-4:09/NO: BREES THROWS ANOTHER STRIKE TO MARQUIS COLSTON, A 25-YARD TOUCHDOWN. Kasay PAT is good. San Franciso 17, New Orleans 14.
Q2-4:45/NO: Brees complete to Devery Henderson for 7. 2nd and 3. Then he checks down and passes incomplete to Sproles, who's stopped just short of a first down. Now 3rd and 3.
Q2-6:30/NO: Brees chased deep into backfield on 1/10, throws it away. Sproles picks up 2 for 3rd and 7. Then Brees hits WR Adrian Arrington for 14, yet another NO first down.
Q2-7:13/NO: Niners DL Justin Smith offsides 1/5 NO. Then Brees hits WR Marquis Colston for 13.
Q2 TV BREAK: That was a big defensive stop for the Saints. Now the 49ers have to try to stop Brees from asserting himself and grabbing momentum in the game.
Q2-7:15: Lee punts to Sproles, who brings it back to NO 39. 1/10.
Q2-7:45/SF: Smith pitches out to Gore who tries a sweep left that gets the yard back. 3/10. Smith passes to Gore in left flat, but he's stopped two yards short of a first down. Andy Lee in to punt.
Q2-9:32/SF: Smith flips to RB Frank Gore on a screen that loses a yard.
Q2-9:32: Saints kick off, and Kasay knocks it over the end zone. 1/10 SF at the 20.
Q2-9:32/NO: BREES THROWS A STRIKE ON POST PATTERN TO TE GRAHAM. TOUCHDOWN SAINTS. John Kasay PAT good. San Francisco 17, New Orleans 7
Q2-10:30/NO: Short run right for 1 yd.
Q2-11:30/NO: Brees picks up 5 after being forced from pocket. Then he hits TE Jimmy Graham on left for 7. 1/10 again, now at SF 16.
Q2-12:27/NO: On 2/6, Brees complete to Marquis Colston in the middle. 1/10 at SF 28,
Q2-12:27/NO maintains possession.
Q2-12:30: The replays make it look like Sproles was down before he was stripped. New Orleans should keep the ball here.
Q2-12:30/: HOLY TOLEDO. Niners DB DONTE WHITMER STRIPS DARREN SPROLES FOR ANOTHER POSSIBLE TURNOVER. Under review.
Q2-13:30/NO: Brees complete for 20 to WR Marquis Colston.
Q2-14:00/NO: On 1st down, Brees to WR Robert Meacham for 8. Then to FB Ned Collins for another 8. 1/10 at NO 36.
Q2-14:12/Uh oh -- 49ers coverage team is danccing before the kickoff. Akers kick is touched back. 1/10 NO at its 20.
Q2-14:12/SF: Akers FG good from 25 yards. San Francisco 17, New Orleans 0.
Q2-15:00/SF: Smith short completion to NO 7, 3rd and 4. Smith then has to throw it away after being flushed out of the pocket. Familiar site: Kicker David Akers coming out for a FG attempt.
Quarter break: If you're a 49ers fans--and don't let any use of boldface, all caps, or exclamation points make you think I'm anything but a detached professional observer--that was a huge, huge quarter. Everything that made the Niners successful this season came into play there. The caveat: Three quarters to go. And as I recall, the Saints were down at halftime to the Lions last week.
Q1:35/SF: 1/10 at the 13. 1st down: Gore tries the left sside for 3 yrds. That's the end of the first quarter. Niners rocking, the Saints back on their heels.
Q1-:35:/Niners kick off is muffed by Courtney Roby, Niners recover at about the 10. Lots of scuffling.
Q1-:41/SF: Nice play by Smith to stand up to the rush and find Crabtree. Akers kick is good. San Francisco 14, New Orleans 0.
Q1-:44/SF: On 1st and 2nd down, Smith throws ball awasy. 3rd and goal. Then he hits WR Crabtree on a slant for 6. TOUCHDOWN 49ERS!!!
Q1-:56: DASHON GOLDSON PICKS OFF LONG BREES ATTEMPT UP MIDDLE, RUNS IT BACK TO SAINTS 4.
Q1/:56: SAN FRANCISCO INTERCEPTION!!!
Q1-1:25/NO: Second-down completion to Sproles for first down,
Q1-2:04/NO: 1/10 NO at their own 14. Open with short pass to TE Graham, gain of four.
Q1-2:04: 49ers kick off. NO's Courtney Roby takes it in end zone and is buried at the 13. The Niners are feeling it, and so is the crowd. No back to more TV commercials.
Q1-2:10 TV break. Vernon Davis is a tough man to bring down, and he just showed that again. Two NO backs had a shot at him, but only succeeded in knocking each other down. No one else had a chance to stop him after that.
Q1-2:00: Smith complete to TE Vernon Davis for 49-yard TD. Akers kick good. San Francisco 7, New Orleans 0.
Q1-2:00 NINERS TOUCHDOWN!!!
Q1-2:30: SF RB Kendall Hunter picks up 6 on 1/10 run left.
Q1-3:00: NO punter Thomas Morstead -- 60 yard punt, 15 yard return by Ginn. 1/10 49ers at their 45.
Q1-3:15/NO: On 1/10, Brees incomplete to RB Darren Sproles on pass into left flat. 2/10. Followed by a 2-yard run, 3/8. On 3rd done, SF DE Aldon Smith chased down Brees and sacks him for a loss of 11.
Q1 TV break: Should be noted that NO's TE Jimmy Graham went to locker room after the pass interference play and has just returned.
Q1-4:20: P Andy Lee's punt dies at the NO 19. 1/10 there.
Q1-5:57/SF: Incomplete to Ginn, then a completion to tight end Vernon Davis for 5. On 3/5, a big NO rush swamps Smith, who coughs up the ball. Niners recover, but they take a big loss and will have to punt it away,
Q1-6:30/SF: After an incompletion, Smith hits Ted Ginn Jr. on a slant for 11. 1/10 SF at their 42.
Q1-7:45/SF: Gore is off to the races on a sweep, picks up 15. 1/10 Niners.
Q!-8:30/SF: The Niners first play from scrimmage -- Alex Smith complete to Michael Crabtree for nine yards. Frank Gore follows with a 5-yard run for the Niners initial first down.
Q1-8:44/SF: Quite an opening drive for Donie Whitner. A pass interference penalty, then forcing a fumble.
Q1-8:44/NO: Another short pass to the right to Pierre Thomas, a great hit by Donie Whitner stops him in his tracks at the 2 -- and THOMAS FUMBLES!!! 49ers recover. The 49ers takeaway game comes into play early.
Q1-10:00/NO: Darren Sproles stopped at the line of scrimmage. 2nd and 10. Then a screen to Sproles, who falls after gaining 3 yards, 3 and 7.
Q1-10:45/NO: Good first down run for the Saints followed by incompletion in the middle for third and four at the Niner 14. Then a first down pass just to the marker at the Niner 10.
Q1-12:30/NO: First big break in the game goes to the Saints. Pass interference called on Niners' Donie Whitner. NO firt down at Niner 21. Just as big: NO tight end Jimmy Graham was ahekn up on the play
Q1-13:00/NO: Another pass underneat, to Darren Sproles, for another first down. And then a swing pass to the right that gives the Saints second and 6, ball in Niner territory.
Q1-14:17/NO: Drew Brees hits his first two short passes, NO first down at their own 35. NO follows that with a short run up the middle, 2nd and 7,
1:35 p.m.: 49ers have won the toss (which was not televised). The Stick sounds like it's rocking. The Niners will kick to the Saints. David Akers' kick is touched back in the end zone; New Orleans ball at the 20
Update: Huey Lewis is performing the national anthem. He's struggling a little bit with the higher notes, but he's a crowd favorite. Wonder what the Niners' won-lost is with him doing the "Banner."
Game time's almost here. A fan's dilemma: Listen to the 49ers excellent radio team (Ted Robinson, Eric Davis, Rod Brooks) or listen to the Fox play-by-play.