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    NFL Game Summary - New Orleans at San Francisco



    (Saturday, January 14th)

    Final Score: San Francisco 36, New Orleans 32

    San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - "I don't know what you would call this one," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of the instant-classic play. "The throw- and-catch?"

    How about "The Clutch."

    When Vernon Davis hit the ground with Alex Smith's pinpoint pass still in his hands Saturday, he delivered the San Francisco 49ers something they hadn't tasted in nine years.

    Playoff victory.

    Davis scored on a 14-yard catch with nine seconds remaining, lifting the 49ers to a 36-32 win over the New Orleans Saints and capping a breathless finish in the NFL's first divisional round game of the weekend.

    It was the third touchdown scored in the last 2:11 of the game, coming after Smith's 28-yard bootleg gave the 49ers a 29-24 lead and Jimmy Graham's 66- yard catch put the Saints ahead 32-29.

    "They ended up making one more play than we did," said Saints coach Sean Payton.

    The name of the play? "Vernon post," Harbaugh said -- and who knows if he was telling the truth. But it worked perfectly. Davis slipped behind one defender and held on to Smith's pass in the front of the end zone despite a hit from safety Roman Harper, who couldn't knock the ball loose with his hand.

    Despite forcing five turnovers -- including a pair of Drew Brees interceptions -- the 49ers still needed to rally twice in the final minutes to win their first playoff game since 2003 and move on to face the winner of Sunday's Giants-Packers game in next week's NFC Championship game.

    "That's about as good as it gets," said Smith. "There were so many ups-and- downs in this game. We knew it was going to be like that a little bit, but we didn't know it was going to be this extreme."

    "The guys are just so confident," the quarterback said, "and we feel like as long as there's time left, we have a chance."

    Smith, far from a feared NFL quarterback, passed for 299 yards and three touchdowns. His run around the left side of the line for a touchdown with 2:11 remaining -- a gutsy call given the circumstances -- was the game's defining play until two others surpassed it.

    Brees, coming off a record-setting season, threw for 462 yards and four TDs.

    After watching Smith's go-ahead score, his 62nd pass of the game found Graham in the middle of the field around the Niners' 40-yard line, and the big tight end took it in.

    A two-point conversion gave the NFC South-champion Saints a three-point lead with 1:37 remaining -- enough time, it turned out, for the NFC West-champion 49ers to strike back quickly.

    "Any time you have a chance to score a touchdown," Brees argued, "you can never do it too quickly.".

    Davis set up his own game-winner with a 47-yard catch down the left sideline that Smith dropped in perfectly behind safety Malcolm Jenkins

    Davis finished with seven receptions for 180 yards and two touchdowns and Frank Gore ran for 89 yards for the second-seeded 49ers.

    Three Saints receivers went over 100 yards: Marques Colston (136), Darren Sproles (119) and Graham (103). Graham scored two touchdowns and Colston and Sproles both reach the end zone once. Sproles had a 44-yard catch-and-run that gave the Saints their first lead of the game with 4:02 remaining.

    "It was a hard-fought game. It was difficult to lose," said Payton. "But both teams played hard."

    The Saints, despite four turnovers in the first half, found a way to climb out of a 17-0 hole and within three points on two touchdown passes by Brees.

    The first one found Graham, who leapt to catch a 14-yard pass in the end zone. After a 49ers punt, the Saints struck again when Brees hit Colston for a 25- yard touchdown that got the Saints within 17-14.

    Brees threw his second interception of the half -- Tarell Brown made a leaping grab on a deep pass intended for Devery Henderson -- but the 49ers punted. The Saints were unable to capitalize on a Smith fumble before the half.

    Sproles fumbled a punt early in the third quarter and David Akers kicked a 41- yard field goal to give the 49ers a 20-14 lead. It was the fifth turnover for New Orleans.

    The Saints pulled within 20-17 on John Kasay's 48-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter -- the longest in franchise postseason history. But Gore found a seam later in the quarter for a 42-yard run that set up Akers' 37-yarder to make it 23-17 San Francisco.

    Three and a half minutes later, Sproles slipped tackles on his 44-yard touchdown to make it 24-23 New Orleans and set up the thrill-a-minute finish.

    Earlier, San Francisco forced a fumble on the first drive of the game on safety Donte Whitner's helmet-to-helmet hit on Saints running back Pierre Thomas, who left the game with a head injury.

    The 49ers didn't capitalize then, but they took a 7-0 lead when Davis broke a tackle then finished off a 49-yard touchdown catch.

    Brees was picked off three plays into the ensuing possession when Dashon Goldson jumped a pass, and Smith hit Michael Crabtree on a four-yard slant pass to make it 14-0 in the final minute of the first quarter.

    Courtney Roby fumbled the following kickoff -- muffing the catch at first, then losing the ball again in a scrum several yards up the field. The 49ers settled for a 25-yard Akers field goal for their 17-0 lead.

    Game Notes

    The 49ers won their fourth straight game after ending the regular season with three victories in a row. They hadn't won a playoff games since beating the Giants in the wild card round on January 5, 2003...Harbaugh won his first playoff game as an NFL head coach...The third-seeded Saints were coming off a 45-28 win over Detroit last week in the wild card round. They had a nine-game winning streak snapped...Brees set a single-season record with 5,476 passing yards...Graham left the game briefly after coming down hard on his back on the first drive of the game.

    01/14 21:38:45 ET

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    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

      Great 38: Win tickets to Daytona 500

      Updated:

      Here's your chance to win tickets to the 2015 Daytona 500. Entering is easy, simply fill out the entry form included. More>>

      • Great Stuff

      News Now: Media General CEO talks about his career, future for company Video included

      Updated:

      In December, LIN Media and Media General merged to create the second largest broadcasting company in the country. The former CEO and President of LIN Media, Vince Sadusky, was placed at the helm of the new and improved Media General. More>>

      Bill Schifino, Jr talks about being President-Elect of the Florida Bar Video included

      Updated:

      Earlier this month, Bill Schifino, Jr. was announced as the 2015-16 President-Elect of the Florida Bar. Schifino comes to this position with a strong resume. More>>

      Trio sets off on 900 mile trek across Florida Video included

      Updated:

      Joe Guthrie, Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and Carlton Ward Jr. are embarking on a journey of a lifetime. The trio are setting off on a 70-day, 900 mile trek across the state???without any automobiles.
      More>>

      How this guide dog helps one blind triathlete chase her Paralympic dream

      Updated:

      Every time Paralympic hopeful Amy Dixon makes it to the end of another grueling triathlon, she knows her trusty companion will be waiting for her at the finish line. Sixteen years after she lost vision in her right eye, which she says she viewed as "a death sentence" at the time,  More>>

      Legoland Florida hotel to open in spring; built for kids

      LEGOLAND Florida photo LEGOLAND Florida photo
      Updated:

      Legoland Florida Hotel will welcome its first guests a month earlier than previously expected.During an announcement Thursday, Legoland executives announced May 15 as the revised opening date.  More>>

      3 rhinos escape from safari zoo, return safely Video included

      Updated:

      Three rhinoceroses escaped from their site at a safari zoo in Israel this week, NBC reported.  More>>

      VIRAL VIDEO: Bossy 4-year-old girl feeds 6 pit bull dogs

      Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube
      Updated:

      A video of a very authoritative 4-year-old girl feeding six very obedient pit pulls in the middle of a kitchen has gone viral on the web and is prompting a heated debate about the pit bull breed.
      More>>

      8 fun things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend | January 17-18 Video included

      Updated:

      See 8 fun things happening this weekend in Tampa Bay!
      More>>

      'Birdman,' 'Budapest' top Oscar nominations with 9 nods each

      Updated:

      Two extravagant comedies, "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," tied for the most Oscar nominations Thursday morning with nine nods each, including best picture. More>>

      109th Tarpon Springs Epiphany: Schedule of Events, Road Closures

      TARPON SPRINGS EPIPHANY CELEBRATION 2011 photo by Sue Thomas TARPON SPRINGS EPIPHANY CELEBRATION 2011 photo by Sue Thomas
      Updated:

      The 109th Epiphany celebration begins Monday, January 5 with the Arrival of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios and the blessing of the fleet and continues on Tuesday, January 6 with Epiphany Services, Procession, Cross Dive and Glendi Celebration.  More>>

      Out and About
      Powered by WorldNow

      200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

      Telephone: 813.228.8888
      Fax: 813.225.2770
      Email: news@wfla.com

      Can???t find something?
      Powered by WorldNow
      All content © Copyright 2000 - 2015 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.