49ers hold down Brees, Saints

Saturday, Jan. 14, 2012 8:46 PM
Last updated 8:50 PM
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SAN FRANCISCO — Alex Smith completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds left just after Drew Brees had put the high-powered Saints ahead, and the resurgent San Francisco 49ers capitalized on five New Orleans turnovers for a thrilling 36-32 playoff victory Saturday.

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith (94) sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the third quarter.  Associated Press
Associated Press
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith (94) sacks New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) during the third quarter.

Smith ran for a 28-yard TD with 2:11 left and threw another scoring pass to Davis. Coach Jim Harbaugh's NFC West champions (14-3) proved that a hard-hitting, stingy defense can still win in the modern, wide-open NFL by holding off one of league's most dynamic offenses.

San Francisco triumphed in its first playoff game in nine years, moving within one win of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since capturing the proud franchise's fifth championship after the 1994 season. The Saints finish at 14-4.

Next up for the 49ers is the NFC title game against the winner of Sunday's New York Giants-Green Bay Packers matchup.

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Bonk
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Bonk 01/14/12 - 11:52 pm
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No mention of Carlos Rogers?

No mention of Carlos Rogers? He played a good game and is from right here in Augusta. I expect this of certain radio and tv personalities but NOT the Chronicle. Please tell the sports dept. to step it up a notch. Thanks!

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