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NFL SPOTLIGHT / WEEK 10 | NEW ORLEANS 31, SAN FRANCISCO
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Saints Make Believers Out of 49ers

November 06, 2000|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — Fans in New Orleans are accustomed to seeing big completions and long touchdown drives when the Saints play San Francisco. The difference Sunday was that the home team, not the 49ers, produced the offense.

"I think we're starting to feel comfortable with what's going on with our offense," Saint quarterback Jeff Blake said. "Guys are trusting each other and believing that, 'Hey, that guy is going to be there and he's going to make a play.' "

Blake threw three touchdown passes as New Orleans (6-3) opened up a 28-0 halftime lead and cruised to a 31-15 victory over the 49ers (2-7). The Saints didn't punt until the fourth quarter.

"It was shocking," San Francisco Coach Steve Mariucci said. "I couldn't believe my eyes. We couldn't get them off the field. We couldn't get them to punt. I think we had 19 snaps in the first half with our offense and had a turnover and a missed field goal."

San Francisco, the No. 2 offense in the NFC, was stymied most of the game by the NFC's top-rated defense. The 49ers scored 20 or more points in 12 of the previous 13 games.

"We just kept plugging away," Saint defensive lineman La'Roi Glover said. "We weren't concerned with the score. We weren't concerned with anything but trying to win."

Although San Francisco held New Orleans to a field goal in the second half, the damage already had been done.

The Saints' 28 points in the first half were the fourth-most they have scored against San Francisco in 62 games. The 49ers are 43-17-2 in those games.

New Orleans had four first-half drives and scored on each--going 63, 76, 80 and 74 yards for touchdowns. The Saints had a fourth-down conversion in three of the four drives.

In the first half, New Orleans converted six of nine third downs, outgained the 49ers 278-107 and held the ball for 20 minutes 43 seconds.

Blake completed 20 of 26 passes for 275 yards and no interceptions. Joe Horn finished with 167 yards on nine receptions, and Ricky Williams gained 81 yards in 27 carries.

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