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49ers Can't Sign Off on Comeback

October 21, 2002|From Associated Press

NEW ORLEANS — He hated to do it, but San Francisco 49er Coach Steve Mariucci spotted the New Orleans Saints a touchdown.

Aaron Brooks scored on a one-yard run with 1:56 left in New Orleans' 35-27 victory Sunday, but the Saints drew a penalty for having 12 men on the field. With only one timeout left and not wanting to waste any more of the clock, Mariucci declined the penalty and turned to his high-powered offense.

"I've never done that before; has anyone even seen one?" he said. "But it seemed to make sense.... Otherwise we're not getting the ball back."

Capping a sensational fourth quarter in which their offense scored 22 points, the Saints (6-1) let San Francisco get to their 39-yard line before shutting down the 49ers.

"We knew this was going to boil down to the fourth quarter," Saint Coach Jim Haslett said. "No matter what the score was, we knew the fourth quarter was going to determine the outcome."

Brooks completed 23 of 35 passes for 254 yards and three touchdowns, and Deuce McAllister -- the NFC's leading rusher -- had 139 yards in 21 carries.

The 49ers (4-2) got another touchdown from Terrell Owens, but not the kind of big performance expected of him following a week of self-imposed hype.

Following his second touchdown reception in last week's victory over Seattle, Owens pulled a pen from his sock, autographed the ball and presented it to his financial advisor sitting nearby.

On Sunday, Owens was held to four catches for 61 yards. His touchdown came in the first quarter, on a four-yard pass from Jeff Garcia. Afterward, Owens showed his sense of humor when he lifted his feet to let his teammates inspect for pens. He then tossed the ball to a fan wearing a 49er jersey, who dropped it.

There was another autograph episode involving the 49ers, though. In the fourth quarter, a fan ran onto the field and briefly joined the team's huddle.

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