49ers Sift Out The Saints

49ers prove worthy of NFC title game in dramatic win.

Josh Helmuthby Josh Helmuth

49er fans have been waiting nearly a decade for a moment as pinnacle as Saturday’s win against the Saints, and for some it may have been worth the wait.

In the first playoff game for San Francisco in eight years, the 49ers defeated the New Orleans Saints 36-32 in a dramatic fourth quarter that included four lead changes in the final four minutes. After both teams traded adrenaline filled touchdowns back and forth, the game was finally decided on an Alex Smith 14 yard touchdown pass to Vernon Davis with 9 seconds remaining on the clock. With an epic history of late dramatic scores in playoff games, Alex Smith now joins Joe Montana (The Catch) and Steve Young (The Catch II) in great 49er folklore with what they are dubbing ‘The Grab.’

"You've got to call it 'The Grab,' " Davis stated in regards to his touchdown. "We were down. I had to make it happen to take my teammates where we want to go. This is huge for us. It's history, legendary, anything you can describe."

Vernon Davis had the day of his life, hauling in 7 receptions for 180 yards and 2 scores.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees completed a 66-yard touchdown toss to tight end Jimmy Graham with only 1:37 left in the game in what seemed to have completed an incredible comeback rally that would give New Orleans the win. The Saints started out the game in an 0-17 hole partly due to a 49er defense that forced 5 turnovers on Saturday.

Not to mention, San Francisco became the first team in NFL history to score two lead-changing touchdowns in the last 3 minutes to win a playoff game, according to STATS LLC.

"Kind of an unbelievable game the way it went back and forth," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "It's obviously a difficult game to lose."

San Francisco will play the winner of the Giants Vs. Packers game for the NFC Championship next weekend.

Fun Filled Fact:  The amazing 49ers touchdown caught by Vernon Davis on Saturday was scored in the opposite end zone from where Dwight Clark caught ‘The Catch,’ a 6-yard pass from Joe Montana on Jan.10, 1982; 30 years ago. Davis’ touchdown also came in the same end zone where Steve Young connected with Terrell Owens for the winning TD against the Packers in the 1999 wildcard playoff game, which was dubbed “The Catch II.”