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New Orleans vs. San Francisco: Week 2, Sept. 20, 2010
Result: New Orleans 25, San Francisco 22
The 2010 season looked promising for the 49ers on the heels of an 8-8 finish from the previous year.
A dejecting 31-6 blowout loss to the Seattle Seahawks in Week 1 changed that attitude quickly, and when San Francisco returned home the following week for a Monday Night Football showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, many wondered if the 49ers were going to suffer a similar fate.
Early on, it appeared as though they would.
Center David Baas nearly snapped a ball over Alex Smith's head, resulting in a safety. Reggie Bush badly faked-out Patrick Willis on a 6-yard touchdown pass. Before the capacity crowd at Candlestick Park could get comfortable, the hometown 49ers trailed 9-0.
Slowly but surely, San Francisco battled back.
Alex Smith led two 80-plus yard drives and gave the 49ers a 14-9 lead heading into the half.
Drew Brees then went to work, and, following some terrific goal-line defense by San Francisco, Garrett Hartley chipped in a 19-yard field goal to put the Saints ahead 22-14 with 2:12 remaining in the game.
Smith would answer, guiding San Francisco on an eight-play, 82-yard drive, capped off by a seven-yard Frank Gore touchdown run with 1:19 left. Smith then found Vernon Davis for the game-tying two-point conversion.
The Candlestick crowd held its collective breath as it was up to the 49ers defense to play for overtime. But Brees had other ideas, lofting a picture perfect 30-yard pass to wide receiver Marques Colston to get the ball into field-goal range.
Hartley then came on to hit the game-winner from 37 yards out as time expired.
Indianapolis vs. San Francisco: Week 7, Oct. 18, 1998
Result: San Francisco 34, Indianapolis 31
According to pro-football-reference.com, the 49ers were an 18-point favorite to steamroll the Indianapolis Colts in Week 7 of the 1998 regular season.
But, rookie quarterback Peyton Manning and prolific wide receiver Marvin Harrison had other plans.
Indianapolis jumped all over San Francisco in the first half, and led the heavily favored Niners 21-0. A 65-yard Marshall Faulk run on the Colts' first offensive play from scrimmage and two Manning-to-Harrison touchdown passes give Indy the big early advantage.
Finally, Steve Young was able to get the 49ers offense in gear.
Young connected with J.J. Stokes and Terrell Owens on TDs, and Wade Richey added a 43-yard field goal to trim the halftime deficit to 21-17.
After a third touchdown pass from Manning to Harrison and a Mike Vanderjagt field goal, the 49ers found themselves in a 31-17 hole heading into the fourth quarter.
That's where Steve Young's heroics took over.
The Hall of Fame quarterback used his legendary scrambling ability to score twice in the final period, including a 23-yard run which brought the 49ers within two points of the Colts.
In the game, Young broke the record for consecutive 300-yard passing games in a single season (which has since been broken by Drew Brees), finishing with 331 yards for the day.