New Orleans Saint Coach Mike Ditka started talking about Sunday's game with the San Francisco 49ers last January. Now he wants to forget it as quickly as possible.
The game he labeled "his obsession" turned into his nightmare, quickly erasing thoughts of New Orleans' fast start and showing that San Francisco is still the class of the NFC West.
Steve Young had his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game and became the 20th player in NFL history to throw for 30,000 yards as the 49ers (4-1) defeated the Saints, 31-0.
"They're the best football team I've seen in this league," Ditka said. "I don't care who else there is, what their records are. Certainly the best against me when I coach, I know that."
Young, who left after one series in the fourth quarter, completed 21 of 40 passes for 309 yards and three touchdowns. He is now tied with Joe Montana for most consecutive 300-yard passing games.
"Records are great, but I think it's about performing and keeping steady throughout the year," Young said. "We have a standard and we want to keep it. It seems kind of trite, but that is the key."
The Saints (3-2) showed no signs of the scrappy play that helped them open with three victories in a row and play on even terms with the New England Patriots last week before losing on a late field goal.
New Orleans gained only 167 yards and made only 10 first downs against a 49er defense that was ranked 30th in the NFL.
The last time the Saints scored against the 49ers in the Superdome was Nov. 3, 1996. In the last three games between the teams, San Francisco has outscored New Orleans, 87-7, including back-to-back shutouts.