New Orleans Saints beat San Francisco 31-17

New Orleans Saints beat San Francisco 31-17

Posted by The Times-Picayune September 28, 2008 3:06PM

Deuce McAllister came back with 20 carries against San Francisco on Sunday.

There have been questions about the Saints so far this season:

Can they overcome the rash of injuries?

Can the defense stop somebody and give the offense some help?

Will Deuce McAllster ever play again?
OK, there might be more questions than that. But those three were answered at the Superdome today and all three were yes.

In what was perhaps the best defensive effort of the Sean Payton era, the Saints defense got six sacks and intercepted two passes (both in the end zone) and beat the San Francisco 49ers 31-17.

“Thought we played inspired, especially with the injuries we’ve had and the suspension of (Jabar) Nesbitt,” Saints Coach Sean Payton said. “We hit the quarterback and that was good. When they became one-dimensional that was good. But we had a good defensive effort against a good team.”

The win moves the Saints to 2-2 and keeps them a game behind the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who both won Sunday, in the NFC South division.

Charles Grant had two of the Saints sacks, Will Smith had a sack, one of which he caused San Francisco quarterback J.T. O’Sullivan to fumble, and Tracy Porter had a sack and an interception.

For McAllister, it was his first real action (although he had two carries coming into the game) and he didn’t disappoint the Saints fans who have been clamoring for him to play. He carried the ball 20 times for 73 yards and a touchdown.

“It was great to see Deuce back in there,” Payton said. “This week we had a chance to run the ball more. We saw a lot of nickel defense. So we mixed up our personel and we were able to make some big plays.”

Quarterback Drew Brees had another outstanding game. Brees, who continuously attacked the 49ers defense with long, deep passes, finished with 363 yards passing, going 23-of-35 and three touchdowns. He started off a little sluggish, hitting on just three of his first seven passes, then in typical Brees fashion, shook off that start with a flourish.

Brees threw the ball to nine different receivers.

Also having a big game was the always-reliable Lance Moore. He had seven catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns. Robert Meachem caught just two passes, but they were big ones. He had 99 yards receiving and a touchdown and a great catch in double coverage on a flea flicker. Devery Henderson had an 81-yard reception and was prevented from scoring when he was caught from behind by Nate Clements at the 1.

O’Sullivan, a former Saints third-string quarterback (behind Aaron Brooks and Jake Delhomme), had a scrappy performance, going 18-of-37 for 257 yards and a touchdown and two picks.

David Patten left the game with groin injury and and Chris Reis left with a hamstring injury.

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