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Saints @ 49ers: Game Preview









9 of past 11



Payton: 4-0

Harbaugh: 0-0


Payton: 5-2

Harbaugh: 0-0



NO: 3-2 (Det. 1-0; NYG 1-0; StL. 0-1; TB 1-1)

SF: 5-0 (Det. 1-0; NYG 1-0; StL. 2-0; TB 1-0)





W 45-28 vs. Lions

Bye (Wk. 17: W 34-27 at Rams)


9/20/10: Saints 25 at 49ers 22. New Orleans K Garrett Hartley kicks 3 4th-quarter FGs, including game-winning 37-yarder as time expires.







FOX (1:30 PM PT): Kenny Albert, Daryl Johnston, Tony Siragusa (Field reporter). Westwood One Radio: Kevin Kugler, Mark Malone, Scott Kaplan (Field reporter). SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 92 (NO), 86 (SF). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (NO), 226 (SF).



Brees: 468-657-5,476 (1L)-46 (1L)-14-110.6 (2L)

Ale. Smith: 274-446-3,150-17-5-90.7


Sproles: 87-603-6.9-2

Gore: 282-1,211 (3C)-4.3-8


Graham (TE): 99 (3L)-1,310-13.2-11 (T3L)

Crabtree: 73-880-12.1-4


467.1 (1L)




+28 (1L)



308.1 (1C)


Harper: 7.5

Ald. Smith (R): 14


P. Robinson: 4

Goldson, Rogers: 6 (T2C)


Sproles: 10.1

Ginn: 12.3 (3C)


Sproles: 27.2 (3L)

Ginn: 27.6 (3L)


Morstead: 48.3 (2C)

Lee: 50.9 (1L)


Kasay: 147 (2L) (63/63 PAT; 28/34 FG)

Akers: 166 (1L) (34/34 PAT; 44/52 FG)


TEAMS MEET for 1st time in postseason. SF leads all-time series 45-24-2. NO has won past 6 meetings & Saints are averaging 31 points per game in those 6.

SAINTS: Have won 9 in row, incl. last week's WC win. In WC, NO had NFL postseason record 626 yards & tied NFL playoff record with 34 1st downs. Tied club record with 13 reg. season wins, equaling mark set by 2009 team that won SB XLIV. Set NFL record with 7,474 total net yards & 5,347 net pass yards. Team has qualified for postseason in 4 of 6 seasons under head coach SEAN PAYTON. Payton has 5-2 (.714) playoff record. Saints aim for 6th postseason game in row with 30+ points. Club had 5 players selected to Pro Bowl: QB DREW BREES (6th), T JERMON BUSHROD (1st), G JAHRI EVANS (3rd), TE JIMMY GRAHAM (1st) & G CARL NICKS (2nd)...QB Breespassed for 466 yards in WC & is only player in NFL history with consecutive 400-yard playoff games. Joined HOFer DAN MARINO & PEYTON MANNING as only QBs with 2 400-yard playoff games. Has not thrown INT in 215 postseason passes in row, longest streak in NFL history. In postseason career, has completed 222 of 328 (67.7 pct.) for 2,518 yards with 18 TDs vs. 2 INTs for 106.2 rating. His 106.2 rating & 67.7 comp. pct. rank 2nd all-time (min. 150 att.). Has 0.6 INT pct. (2 INTs, 328 att.) in playoffs, best mark in NFL postseason history (min. 150 att.). In reg. season, had NFL single-season record 5,476 pass yards & 13 300-yard pass games, most all-time. Set single-season records for comp. (468) & comp. pct. (71.2)...RB-PR-KR DARREN SPROLES had NFL-record 2,696 all-purpose yards in reg. season. Had 328 combined net yards (106 KR, 105 rush, 72 PR, 45 rec.) in 2008 WC (1/3/09 with SD), 3rd highest single-game total in NFL postseason history. Rushed for 2 TDs in WC last week. RB PIERRE THOMAS has 4 TDs in past 3 in playoffs...In reg. season, TE Graham led NFL TEs with 99 receptions & was 2nd with 1,310 yards, 2nd most by TE all-time. Is 1st TE in NFL history with 95+ catches, 1,200+ yards & 10+ TDs in season. Graham (99) & Sproles (86) are 1st TE-RB duo in NFL history with 80+ catches each in reg. season. WR MARQUES COLSTON had 1,143 rec. yards in reg. season, his team-record 5th 1,000-yard season. Is Saints all-time postseason leader with 36 catches & 492 yards. WR DEVERY HENDERSON has TD in 4 of past 5 playoff games. WR ROBERT MEACHEM had 1st career 100-yard (111) postseason game & 1st playoff TD (56 yards) last week...Since entering NFL in 2006, S ROMAN HARPER has 17 sacks in reg. season, most by DB. Led team with 7.5 sacks in reg. season, 2nd most all-time by DB in season. CB JABARI GREER had 2 INTs in WC & has 3 INTs in past 2 playoff games. His 3 INTs are most by Saint in postseason history & CB TRACY PORTER (2) is tied for 2nd. Porter had 74-yard INT-TD in SB XLIV. LB JONATHAN VILMA is only Saint with INT, FF & FR in playoff game (2009 NFC Champ).

49ERS: Have won NFL-best 15 division titles since 1980. Head coach JIM HARBAUGH guided team to 13 wins, tied for 3rd most by rookie head coach in NFL history. Is 1 of 3 head coaches in team history to win division in 1st year as head coach (GEORGE SEIFERT, 1989 & STEVE MARIUCCI, 1997). Team led NFL with +28 turnover differential, best mark in franchise history. Had 10 giveaways - fewest in league - & tied for NFL best with 38 takeaways. 49ers tied for NFL lead with 8 players selected to Pro Bowl: K DAVID AKERS (6th), S DASHON GOLDSON (1st), RB FRANK GORE (3rd), P ANDY LEE (3rd), CB CARLOS ROGERS (1st), DT JUSTIN SMITH (3rd), T JOE STALEY(1st) & LB PATRICK WILLIS (5th)...QB ALEX SMITH has won 14 of past 17 starts. Had 1st career 3,000-yard season (3,144) & threw just 5 INTs, tied for 3rd fewest in season in NFL history (min. 400 att.). Had 17 TDs & his 3.4 TD-INT ratio was 3rd best in team history, trailing 2 seasons by HOFer STEVE YOUNG (1992 & 1994). In career, 49ers are 10-0 when Smith starts & has 100+ rating...RB Gore rushed for 1,211 yards, his team-record 5th 1,000-yard season. Is franchise's all-time leading rusher with 7,625 yards, passing HOFer JOE PERRY (7,344). Had 5 100-yard rushing games & his 29 career 100-yard games are most in club history...WR MICHAEL CRABTREE had career-high 72 catches & 874 yards. 49ers have won 7 of past 8 when Crabtree has TD catch. Since start of 2009, TE VERNON DAVIS has 26 TDs, most among NFC TEs & 2nd most among NFL TEs. Has 35 career TDs, most by 49ers TE. Davis has 7 career 100-yard games, most by TE in team history. WR-KR-PR TED GINN JR. ranked 3rd in NFL with 27.6 KR avg. & was 4th in NFL with 12.3 PR avg. Only player to rank in top 5 in both...Rush defense led NFL allowing 77.3 yards per game. Total defense was 1st in NFC (308.2). 49ers allowed 3 rush TDs, fewest in 16-game season (since 1978). Was 1st team in NFL history to not allow rush TD in each of 1st 14 games to start season. Club allowed 229 points (14.3 per game), fewest in NFC & 2nd fewest in NFL. LB ALDON SMITH led NFL rookies with 14 sacks, 2nd most ever by rookie. DT Smith had 7.5 sacks & is 1 of 3 players in team history with 6+ sacks in 4 consecutive seasons. LB NA VORRO BOWMAN led team in tackles. LB Willis has been selected to Pro Bowl in each of 1st 5 seasons...K Akers set NFL season records with 44 FGs & 166 kicking points. Ranks 3rd in NFL postseason history with 31 FGs & 134 points. Has scored in 19 consecutive playoff games, tied with HOFer GEORGE BLANDA for 2nd longest streak. P Lee had NFL record 44.0 net punting avg.

The NFL's top offense (New Orleans, 467.1 yards per game) will face the NFC's best defense (San Francisco, 308.2 yards per game) on Saturday at Candlestick Park.

New Orleans has won nine consecutive games, including last week's 45-28 Wild Card victory over Detroit. The Saints, who achieved numerous offensive milestones during the regular season, continued to rewrite the record books, gaining an NFL postseason record 626 yards and tying a league playoff record with 34 first downs. Quarterback DREW BREES passed for 466 yards and is the first player in NFL history with back-to-back 400-yard passing games in the playoffs. He also joined Pro Football Hall of Famer DAN MARINO and PEYTON MANNING as the only players in NFL history to pass for at least 400 yards in two postseason games in a career.

In his first season, head coach JIM HARBAUGH guided the 49ers to 13 wins, tied for the third-most victories by a rookie head coach in NFL history. San Francisco claimed its 15th division title since 1980, the most in the NFL during that span.

"We've had a great season up to this point," says 49ers quarterback ALEX SMITH. "We've put ourselves in a good situation but it doesn't guarantee you anything. So much of the playoffs is the hot team and the team that's peaking and continuing to get better at the end of the season. That's really our focus."

The 49ers, who tied for the NFL lead with eight players selected to the Pro Bowl, led the league with a +28 turnover differential and boasted the league's best run defense (77.3 yards per game). San Francisco allowed only three rushing touchdowns, the fewest in a 16-game season and the 49ers became the first team to not allow a rushing touchdown in each of its first 14 games to start a season.