Saints rally, whip 49ers 23-20

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It was a good ole fashioned pigskin street fight. And, on a Sunday night in the Superdome, the Saints finally bested San Francisco, 23-20.

Garrett Hartley, mired in a 2 for 6 slump, kicked three fourth quarter field goals. Hartley’s 42 yard field goal with 2:06 to play tied the game at 20.

After the Saints forced a punt, New Orleans drove to the San Francisco 14. Hartley’s 31 yard field goal won it as time expired.

” It was funny that it happened the way it did today,” said Hartley. ” Because on the way to the stadium, I was on the phone with John Carney (former Saints kicker). Just kinda picking his brain a little bit. Same thing he told me in the NFC game, when it was coming down to the wire. Just take yourself out of it. You can’t control it, unless you are given the opportunity.”

The Saints overcame three costly turnovers. Lance Moore’s muff of a punt turned into an 11 yard Niner touchdown drive. A third quarter Drew Brees pass was intercepted by Ahmad Brooks. The 49ers turned that miscue into a 17 yard touchdown pass from Colin Kaepernick to Vernon Davis to give San Francisco a 17-14 lead.

The Saints held the 49ers to 196 total yards and 12 first downs. San Francisco had beaten New Orleans the last two seasons, including a stunning upset of the Saints in 2011 Divisional playoffs.

“When you lose to a team a couple of times. Especially when you lose to a team that people continually tell you. You can’t play with a team like that, you can’t play with a running team,” said Saints right tackle Zach Strief. ” It is just human nature that you don’t like being told you can’t do something.”