New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers Highlights: Watch the Video Recap
The league could not have scripted a better opening game for the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers played bend-but-don't-break defense, while experiencing a rare offensive outburst. In addition, the 49ers maintained a high level of physical intensity throughout the game.
The New Orleans Saints moved the ball through the air but failed to have any impact with the running game. However, the biggest story will be the five turnovers that the Saints committed.
Surprisingly, Alex Smith won a quarterback duel with former Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees, winning the game in dramatic fashion with a last-minute touchdown pass.
Donte Whitner Introduces Himself to Pierre Thomas
The New Orleans Saints did not care that they weren't playing the Detroit Lions. The Saints were too busy driving right down the field on their opening drive against the San Francisco 49ers.
Stud tight end Jimmy Graham was injured a few plays prior to this highlight, so New Orleans had to adjust their normal red zone scheme.
On a short pass to Pierre Thomas, Donte Whitner demolished Thomas and forced a fumble.
Vernon Davis Breaks Loose
After forcing the first New Orleans Saints punt in two weeks, the San Francisco 49ers wasted no time in staking a lead.
On the second play of the drive, Alex Smith found Vernon Davis on an intermediate post route.
The Saints defenders collided allowing Davis to finish the drive with a touchdown.
The New Orleans Offense Arrives
The New Orleans Saints offense moved the ball well early, but mistakes kept them off the scoreboard. Consequently, the Saints staked the San Francisco 49ers a 17-point lead.
Drew Brees calmly responded with a nine-play, 80-yard drive capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham.
Drew Brees Shows off
The New Orleans Saints defense fed off the energy provided by the Jimmy Graham touchdown and forced a quick three-and-out.
The short field proved to be of little resistance to the Saints.
Drew Brees dropped a perfect 25-yard teardrop to Marques Colston to cut the lead to three.
Darren Sproles Erases His Team's Mistakes
The New Orleans Saints critically wounded their chances at securing a victory with five turnovers.
Darren Sproles was able to erase those early mistakes and give the Saints their first lead with a 44-yard touchdown reception.
When the New Orleans Saints hold onto the football, they will get into the end zone.
Jimmy Graham Silences the Crowd
The San Francisco 49ers defense couldn't be expected to contain Drew Brees and his track stars all afternoon.
Brees found Jimmy Graham in between multiple defenders, who then made a couple moves and fought his way to pay dirt.
Graham had a monster effort with 103 receiving yards and two scores.
This Game Belonged to Alex Smith
Alex Smith hasn't received much gratitude for his play this year. He earned a large share of the credit for the win by throwing for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
On the final drive, the San Francisco 49ers marched down the field, thanks to Smith and Vernon Davis. The duo connected for a long reception and the 14-yard game-winning touchdown.
Davis also turned in a beastly game, racking up 180 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
NFL.com Highlight Video
Here are all the highlights from the New Orleans Saints vs. San Francisco 49ers divisional-round game via NFL.com.