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New Orleans Saints Squeak Out a 23-20 Win Over the San Francisco 49ers

San Francisco 49ers vs. New Orleans Saints
Wesley Hitt, Getty Images

It’s always nice to beat the San Francisco 49ers, especially in come-from-behind fashion. That’s exactly what happened Sunday afternoon from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome as the New Orleans Saints won 23-20 on a last second 31-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley.

Watch the Game-Winning Field Goal

And after missing four of his last six field goals coming into the game, a lot of fans’ confidence in Hartley had been dwindling, but not Coach Sean Payton‘s.

“Absolutely, it’s good to see. Like I said during the week, there is a lot of white noise that we don’t pay attention to and just keep focusing. I love the way he responded … Last week it was the offensive line and (Mark) Ingram and this week it’s Hartley. I loved to see that,” said Payton after the game.

The game sure had a feel that it would go down to the last second as the game had been back and forth all day. After each team doing very little on offense early on, the Saints finally got things cooking with an 11-play 97 yard touchdown drive to break the ice late in the first quarter.

The 49ers would bounce back after a muffed punt by Lance Moore. Receiver Anquan Boldin scored on an 11-yard reception to even the score at 7-7.

The visitors would take a short-lived lead after a long 55 yard field goal. But on the ensuing kick-off, Travaris Cadet would break free for an 82-yard return. And with a short field, a few plays later the Saints would cash in for a touchdown taking a 14-10 lead into halftime.

San Francisco seemed to own the third quarter however, and would score the only touchdown in the second half on a Vernon Davis strike 10:52 to go in the third.

After another field goal by Phil Dawson early in the fourth quarter to make it 20-14, it was nearly all New Orleans after that. The Saints dominated the time of possession in that frame.

The key (and somewhat controversial) play of the final frame was during the game-tying drive when San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks appeared to force a fumble from Drew Brees. The 49ers recovery of that fumble was negated by a personal foul penalty against Brooks for tackling Brees around the neck.

That drive ended with just over 2:00 minutes remaining in the contest with a 42-yard Hartley field goal.

The Saints defense forced a three-and-out on the Niners offense. The Saints went to work from there.

A couple of key catches by Marques Colston and Jimmy Graham put Hartley in position for the 31-yard game-winner.

New Orleans improves to 8-2 with the win while San Francisco drops to 6-4.

Next up for our boys is a Thursday trek to Atlanta to take on the disappointing Atlanta Falcons (2-8). We’ll have the action here on 97.3 The Dawg starting with the pre-game at 6:00pm.

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