Nov 17, 2013; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) against the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of a game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Since Sean Payton decided to take his talents to the Big Easy in 2006 to accept the position as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, the Black and Gold have faced off with the San Francisco 49ers seven times.
With Payton and the newly acquired Drew Brees to captain the offense as quarterback, the two were on their way to becoming the faces of the franchise, while also developing a heated, non-division rivalry with the Bay Area football team.
However, the two organizations were once used to seeing each other biannually in the geographically counterfactual NFC West until 2002, the year the NFC South was founded for the Saints, Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With seven contests played between New Orleans and San Francisco since 2006, Payton and company own a 5-2 record. Of course, moments are made everyday, but let’s take a look at the top-five Who Dat memories from the meetings between these two tandems since the rebirth of the Crescent City.
5. 9/28/2008 – Lance Moore gets first 100-yard, 2-TD game of career in Saints win
With both the Saints and the 49ers sitting at 2-2 on the season, both were eager for a win. San Francisco headed to the Big Easy to test their wits in the Superdome, but it was pretty one-sided the entire way through for the Black and Gold.
The Saints’ defense dominated QB J.T. O’Sullivan, forcing two interceptions and sacking him six times. It was quite the opposite for Drew Brees as he finished 23 of 35 for 363 yards and three touchdowns.
WR Lance Moore, who debuted for New Orleans just two years before, caught seven passes for 101 yards and two touchdowns (both career-highs at that point), helping the Saints march to a 31-17 victory.
4. 9/20/2010 – Garrett Hartley kicks game-winning field goal on the road
The Saints were off to another great start, sitting at 2-0, just seven months after their historic Super Bowl run that gave the franchise its first-ever championship title. San Francisco, on the other hand, was sitting at 0-2 on the year, aching for a win at home in Candlestick Park.
In a game that was neck and neck the whole way through, the 49ers were able to score a touchdown and put up two added points on the board, tying the contest at 22. However, with just over a minute left in the fourth quarter, New Orleans was able to orchestrate a nice little drive, positioning Garrett Hartley for a game-winning field goal as the clock expired to give the Saints a 25-22 win on the road.
3. 10/28/2007 – Marques Colston scores career-high three touchdowns in blowout road win
It was domination all day for the Black and Gold. The offense was on fire and San Francisco was held without a point until a Joe Nedney field goal halfway through the third quarter.
Drew Brees lit up the 49ers’ defense, completing 31 of 39 passes for 336 yards on four touchdowns, three of which went to WR Marques Colston. It was Colston’s first-ever 3-TD game and is one of two in his entire career as a professional wideout. The Saints got the win on the road, 31-10.
2. 12/03/2006 – Reggie Bush totals 168 yards and career-high four TDs
A little over a year after Hurricane Katrina, the rebirth of the Big Easy was underway. Payton, Brees and rookie RB Reggie Bush were here to help remodel a devastated city and organization.
With just a few games left in what was an amazing season for the team, the 8-4 Saints were up against the struggling 5-7 49ers. From the second quarter on, it was a dominating performance by the Black and Gold, but on the ground rather than through the air.
Brees finished 17 of 28 with just 186 yards and a score. RB Deuce McAllister led the way in the backfield with 26 carries for 136 yards, but it was Bush who scored all the touchdowns, literally.
He only saw ten carries for 37 yards, but managed to find the end zone three times on the ground. Did I mention that 131 of Brees’ 186 passing yards went to Reggie? The former USC standout reeled in nine receptions for a large sum and another score, giving him a career-high four touchdowns his rookie year. He played a major role in an offense that helped lead the Saints to their first ever conference championship appearance.
1. 11/17/2013 – Garrett Hartley kicks game-tying and winning field goals
I’m sure we all remember last year’s contest in the Big Easy. From Lance Moore’s muffed punt to Corey White‘s near-pick six that he ran back and fumbled out the end zone, resulting in a 49ers touchback, it was certainly a nail biter for both sides.
The ball seemed to be bouncing in San Francisco’s favor from start to finish, until the fourth-quarter clothesline sack fumble that OLB Ahmad Brooks administered on QB Drew Brees. The roughing the passer penalty was called, giving the Saints another chance at driving down the field to put some points on the board. Well, they did just that after Garrett Hartley kicked a game-tying field goal with a little over two minutes remaining on the clock.
On the 49ers’ final possession of the game, New Orleans’ defense showed up big. OLB Junior Galette sacked Colin Kaepernick on first down, DE Cam Jordan almost forced a safety on second down and Kaepernick was stopped again on third.
With just a little bit of time left in the fourth quarter, Drew Brees led a superb drive that resulted in a game-winning field goal kick by Hartley as time expired. It was an intense matchup for the entire 60 minutes of football and my top Who Dat moment against the 49ers during the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era.
Like I said before, moments are made everyday. With the San Francisco 49ers returning to the Big Easy this Sunday to take on the awoken New Orleans Saints (4-4), let’s see if Sean Payton, Drew Brees and company can create new memories and help the Black and Gold to their first winning record of the season. I expect another heated showdown when the two face off in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.