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Saints score 22 in fourth to beat 49ers

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NEW ORLEANS

He hated to do it, but San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci spotted the New Orleans a touchdown. scored on a 1-yard run with 1:56 left to seal New Orleans' 35-27 victory Sunday, but the drew a penalty for having 12 men on the field. With just one timeout left and not wanting to waste any more of the clock, Mariucci declined the penalty and turned to his high-powered offense. "I've never done that before; has anyone even seen one?" Mariucci said. "But it seemed to make sense. It was hard to do, but otherwise we're not getting the ball back." Capping a sensational fourth quarter in which their offense scored 22 points, the (6-1) let San Francisco get to their 39-yard line before shutting down the . "We knew this was going to boil down to the fourth quarter," coach Jim Haslett said. "No matter what the score was, we knew the fourth quarter was going to determine the outcome."' The (4-2) got another touchdown pass from , but not the kind of big performance expected of him following a week of self-imposed hype. Following his second touchdown reception in last week's victory over Seattle, Owens pulled a pen from his sock, autographed the ball and presented it to his financial adviser sitting nearby. After some people criticized the stunt, Owens said black players were singled out for expressing themselves, but he later backed off those comments. On Sunday, Owens was held to just four catches for 61 yards. His only score came in the first quarter, on a 4-yard pass from . Afterward, Owens showed his sense of humor when he lifted his feet to let his teammates inspect for pens. He then tossed the ball to a fan, who promptly dropped it. There was another autograph episode involving the , though. During the fourth quarter, a fan ran onto the field and briefly joined the team's huddle. "He had a ball-point pen and was trying to sign my shirt," center said. "He could have stabbed me or something. How did he get out there untouched?" Last week, as a response to Owens' ball-signing, the NFL told its teams that pens could be dangerous on the field, and said players who carry them could be penalized and ejected. Garcia, who matched a career high with four touchdown passes against New Orleans last year, was 23-of-39 for 275 yards and a touchdown. running back , who leads the NFC in rushing, had 139 yards on 21 carries. "When the defense was trying to make some adjustments, we said, `Hey baby, we've got to keep scoring,"' McAllister said. "We just wanted to be 6-1. Brooks completed 23 of 35 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns. "I know that we have a lot more fans right now," Brooks said. "That's expected when you winning." The , who scored on three of their four possessions in the first half, used a 12-play opening drive to take a 7-0 lead. The answered with an 11-play drive on their first possession, capped with a 4-yard TD pass from Brooks to McAllister. San Francisco opened the second quarter with a 2-yard touchdown run by to retake the lead at 14-7. Hearst, who gained 87 yards on 14 carries, put the up 24-13 on an 8-yard touchdown run as the third quarter ended. The drove 63 yards to open the fourth quarter with a 10-yard touchdown reception by . New Orleans' 2-point conversion attempt failed, as McAllister leaped over the middle and into a wall of . That got the to 24-19 with 12:39 left in the game. defensive end then stripped of the football, and recovered it on the San Francisco 22. Two plays later, Brooks hit Horn for a 20-yard touchdown to give New Orleans its first lead of the game. The 2-point attempt, this time with Brooks running the ball, again failed, and the were up 25-24 with 11:20 left. A 41-yard field goal by put San Francisco ahead again 27-25. But New Orleans came back with a 22-yard field goal, giving them a 28-27 lead with 3:17 left. stepped in front of and grabbed Garcia's pass, setting up New Orleans' final drive.

Notes

  • The entered the game first in the NFL in yards per rush (5.4), and third down conversion percentage (48.3). Against the they averaged 5.7 yards on 25 rushes, and converted nine of 12 third downs.
  • The have sold out 17 consecutive games.
  • Injuries: : LB , hamstring, DT , hamstring. : LB , strained right quad, RB , hamstring.
  • Tagged: Saints, Eagles, 49ers, Ken Irvin, Joe Horn, Deuce McAllister, Aaron Brooks, Darren Howard, Jeff Garcia, Jose Cortez, Terrell Owens, Michael Lewis, John Carney

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