Saints 30, 49ers 27

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NEW ORLEANS (AP)—The New Orleans Saints dodged a hurricane and the San Francisco 49ers and survived the loss of their biggest offensive weapon—Deuce McAllister.

Aaron Brooks rallied the Saints in the final two minutes, taking them 59 yards and hitting Donte’ Stallworth for a 16-yard touchdown and a 30-27 victory over the 49ers on Sunday.

Ashley Ambrose intercepted Ken Dorsey’s pass with :04 left to preserve the victory.

“It’s very hard to win in this league,” Ambrose said. “You have a lot of games that come down to three points or less. This was one of those games. You have to play a full 60 minutes because a lot of them are going to be settled in the last few minutes.”

The 49ers got to the Saints 1 on Terry Jackson’s long run with a short pass, but offensive pass interference against Brandon Lloyd nullified the play. On the next play, Ambrose grabbed Dorsey’s pass.

The Saints spent the week in San Antonio, practicing on three different fields while they worried about their homes. McAllister, who sprained his right ankle on the third play, spent the rest of the day on the sideline in an orthopedic boot. McAllister will have an MRI exam on Monday.

New Orleans got after Dorsey, who was making his first NFL start. He was sacked twice, pressured constantly, and completed only six of 13 passes in the first half. By the second half, however, the Saints seemed to back off and Dorsey found a better rhythm, finishing with 18-for-32 for 205 yards.

“I don’t know if you can ask a rookie to do any better than he did,” said San Francisco coach Dennis Erickson. “He didn’t make a lot of mistakes.”

The 49ers outgained New Orleans 370 yards to 302 and outrushed the Saints 180 yards to 46.

“Dorsey is a smart quarterback,” Ambrose said. “I’ve got a lot of respect for him. To be as young as he is and as smart as he is. He got the ball out when he had to and read coverages.”

Brooks was sacked on New Orleans’ first play, then the Saints’ initial drive ended when McAllister fumbled and the 49ers recovered. Kevan Barlow ran 60 yards on the next play to the Saints 5. Dorsey was sacked on the next two plays, setting up a 30-yard field goal by Todd Peterson.

Barlow had 114 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries.

“That was the toughest loss,” Barlow said. “I’d rather be blown out than get beat that way.”

McAllister’s loss left the Saints with only one running back, Aaron Stecker. They cut Ki-Jana Carter before the game so they could activate defensive tackle Shaun Smith from the practice squad.

New Orleans needed only three plays to score its first touchdown. Brooks hit Stallworth for 45 yards, and two plays later Brooks threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Joe Horn to put the Saints up 7-3. Brooks completed 25 of 34 for 279 yards and three touchdowns.

Stallworth, whose winning TD came with 1:01 remaining, had 113 yards on nine receptions. Horn had 94 yards on eight catches.

John Carney added a 33-yard field goal to give New Orleans a 10-3 edge. San Francisco came back Barlow’s 10-yard touchdown run that tied it.

The Saints regained the lead when Brooks hit Jerome Pathon for a 37-yard touchdown. Carney’s second field goal, a 36-yarder, gave New Orleans a 20-10 lead.

Saints cornerback Fakhir Brown drew a 31-yard pass interference call and six plays later, Barlow had a 1-yard touchdown run to make it 20-17.

Carney started the second half with a 37-yard field goal. San Francisco answered quickly with a 33-yard field goal.

Barlow left the game halfway through a fourth-period drive with bruised ribs, but San Francisco did not miss a step. Jamal Robertson came in and capped a 15-play drive with a 1-yard touchdown run—his first score as a 49er—that gave San Francisco its first lead of the game, 27-23.

Notes:@ Saints coach Jim Haslett was hit hard by Hurricane Ivan. He said there was little left of his $1 million, 18th-floor condo in Pensacola Beach, Fla., except the structure. The building was hit almost directly by Ivan on Thursday. … San Francisco and New Orleans, former NFC West rivals, have met 68 times, with 49ers holding 45-20-2 edge. …The 49ers have scored in 420 straight games, the longest streak in NFL history. … San Francisco safety Tony Parrish started his 98th straight game. …The game was the 32nd straight home sellout for the Saints. … Saints safety Steve Gleason suffered a concussion; 49ers WR Arnaz Battle hurt his lower back.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 San Francisco
K. Barlow K. Barlow RB
20 Rush, 114 yds
2 TDs
 New Orleans
A. Brooks A. Brooks QB
25-34, 279 yds
3 TDs

Team Stat Leaders

Passing Yards
Rushing Yards
Receiving Yards


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