Smith TD to Davis puts 49ers in NFC title game

Josh Dubow

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 14 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

The Saints did not play soft coverage to protect the late lead with defensive coordinator Gregg Williams still calling up blitzes until the end. New Orleans got burned when Davis

"That is not our style of defense," safety Malcolm Jones said. "We don't play prevent, we have never played it, and nothing is new. Nothing has changed so we live by the blitz and we die by the blitz."

And the 49ers live to play another game. San Francisco triumphed in its first playoff game in nine years and will move on to face the New York Giants or defending champion Green Bay Packers, who play Sunday. A win by the Giants would give the 49ers the home field.

Davis, who wept on the sideline afterward days after saying he was overwhelmed early by Harbaugh's thick playbook, finished with seven catches for 180 yards. It was the most yards receiving by a tight end in a playoff game.

Smith went 24 for 42 for 299 yards with three TD passes and the touchdown run. He also helped the Niners become the first team in NFL history to score two lead-changing touchdowns in the final 3 minutes to win a playoff game, according to STATS LLC.

"Guys were so confident, as long as we had time we had a shot," Smith said.

Notes: Sproles had a playoff-record 15 catches for 119 yards. ... The Saints had lost five fumbles all season, then gave three away against San Francisco. ... Brees finished the regular season and playoffs with 6,404 yards passing, surpassing Marino's 6,085 on the way to the Super Bowl in the 1984 season. ... The Saints converted an NFL-record 56.7 percent of their third downs in the regular season but just 5 of 14 this game.

Try out the new DeseretNews.com design!
try beta learn more
Get The Deseret News Everywhere