With all the talk before the game about the Saints' dynamic duo of quarterback Drew Brees and tight end Jimmy Graham, it was the 49ers' combo of their own quarterback and tight end—Alex Smith and Vernon Davis—that came through in the clutch.
Trailing 32-29 with 1:37 to play in the fourth quarter, Smith completed a long completion to Davis that set the Niners up in the red zone. Then, with just nine seconds to play, Smith went over the middle to the end zone and hit Vernon Davis, between two defenders, for the game-winning touchdown.
This should sound familiar to 49ers fans. In the 1998 NFC Wild Card Game, Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young delivered a strike to Terrell Owens for the game-winning touchdown with just four seconds to play.
Read on to watch and compare the two eerily similar plays.
This one was probably the more dramatic play. It was the NFC Wild Card Game between the 49ers and the Green Bay Packers back in 1998. Terrell Owens, then a young, budding wide receiver with the 49ers, had dropped several passes throughout the entire game.
Yet, with just four seconds to play, down by four, with the ball at the Packers' 25-yard line, Hall-of-Fame quarterback Steve Young went to T.O.
Young, almost falling while taking the snap, just reared back and fired a bullet right up the middle of the field. Owens reached up and caught it around the 2-yard line, and somehow hung on to the ball while being hammered by three different Packers.
Another similarity to Saturday's game: Owens was crying on the sidelines afterwards.
In an eerily similar fashion, in the NFC Divisional Round against the New Orleans Saints, Alex Smith and Vernon Davis came through.
With the ball at the Saints' 14-yard-line, down by three and 14 seconds to play, it all seemed destined for a field goal that would send the game to overtime.
The 49ers had different thoughts. In the shotgun, Alex Smith took the snap and fired it across the middle to Vernon Davis, who caught it despite being pressured by Roman Harper of the Saints.
A touchdown, and the Niners' playoff victory, that had Davis, like Owens, in tears.