NEW ORLEANS -- Setting Deuce loose was more than a crowd-pleasing move by a coach feeling the heat.
San Francisco's shaky run defense had trouble stopping Deuce McAllister's power running and the New Orleans Saints stayed out of an early-season hole with a 31-17 victory.
The Saints' all-time rusher is playing on two reconstructed knees. It hardly looked that way when he bowled over tacklers for first downs, moved the pile or dived over it for his first touchdown of the season.
He carried 20 times for 73 yards and had a 10-yard reception to convert a third down. He gave the Saints (2-2) the power running they needed to open up deep throws for Drew Brees, who was 23 of 35 for 363 yards and three scores. J.T. O'Sullivan was 18 of 36 for 257 yards for San Francisco (2-2).
Quoteworthy: "I talked to my hero. He told me he was proud of me." -- Deuce McAllister, Saints running back, on former 49er Roger Craig, his boyhood idol