2/ Seven and a half minutes of hell...glory...against 49ers
The game-winning touchdown the Saints gave up to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis was the most-memorable moment of the game, sure. But the final 7 ½ minutes will go down as possibly the most entertaining postseason theater in recent memory.
Four possessions. Four touchdowns. Four lead changes. Four gigantic emotional swings.
In a game in which both defenses stole the show in the first 45 minutes, it was the offensive explosion that we’ll remember.
First, quarterback Drew Brees livened Saints fans worldwide, hitting running back Darren Sproles for a 44-yard touchdown pass with 4:11 to play, giving the Saints a 24-23 lead, their first time playing ahead all day.
Then San Francisco quarterback Alex Smith ignored all naysayers, driving the 49ers 80 yards in six plays, scoring on a speedy 28-yard run around left end. Candlestick Park erupted in joy.
Unfazed, Brees struck again. This time with 1:48 to go in the game, he completed another comeback, this one seemingly a back-breaker when he hit tight end Jimmy Graham for a 66-yard touchdown. The two-point conversion to Sproles gave New Orleans a 32-29 lead with little time left.
But – and this is what everyone in black and gold will remember – Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams chose to stay aggressive and it failed. Smith hit Davis for a 47-yard pass in front of New Orleans safety Malcolm Jenkins and then connected with Davis again for a 14-yard touchdown strike in front of safety Roman Harper.
Candlestick rocked while Saints Nation wept.