Niners edge Saints 48-46 in thrilling NFC showdown

Dec 8, 2019; New Orleans, LA, USA; San Francisco 49ers fans outside of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome before the game between the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers. Mandatory Credit: Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

JIMMY Garoppolo threw four touchdown passes and Robbie Gould kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired as the visiting San Francisco 49ers defeated the New Orleans Saints 48-46 in an NFC showdown on Sunday afternoon.

Garoppolo completed 26 of 35 passes for 349 yards and drove the 49ers 63 yards in the final minute after Drew Brees had given the Saints a one-point lead with his fifth touchdown pass of the day.

On fourth-and-2 from the 49ers’ 33-yard line, Garoppolo threw a 39-yard completion to George Kittle that, combined with a facemask penalty on the tackle, got Gould in range as the 49ers (11-2) moved ahead of the Saints (10-3) in the NFC seedings.

Seattle (10-2), which visits the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night, holds the tiebreaker over the 49ers. The two teams meet again in the regular-season finale.

Emmanuel Sanders caught seven of Garoppolo’s completions for 157 yards and a touchdown and also threw a touchdown pass of his own.

Brees completed 29 of 40 passes for 349 yards. Michael Thomas caught 11 passes for 134 yards and a score.

The Saints led for most of the first half, but the 49ers scored in the last minute of the second quarter to take a 28-27 halftime lead.

Wil Lutz’s 55-yard field goal put New Orleans back on top before Garoppolo threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Kittle. Lutz added a 48-yard field goal to cut San Francisco’s lead to 35-33 after three quarters.

Garoppolo’s 6-yard touchdown pass to Kendrick Bourne gave the 49ers a 42-33 lead with 8:59 left.

Brees came right back with a 21-yard touchdown pass to Thomas with to make it 42-40, but the 49ers answered with Gould’s 41-yard field goal and a 45-40 lead with 2:23 to play.

Brees then drove the Saints to a go-ahead 18-yard touchdown pass to Tre’Quan Smith with 53 seconds left. A two-point conversion failed, leaving New Orleans with a 46-45 lead.

Brees threw two touchdown passes to Jared Cook and one to Josh Hill and leaped 1 yard to account for four first-half touchdowns. Garoppolo threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Bourne and a 75-yarder to Sanders, and Raheem Mostert caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from Sanders and then added a 10-yard scoring run to give San Francisco a 28-27 halftime lead.

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