Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 1/15/12
Since both the New Orleans Saints and the San Francisco 49ers kept battling back and forth throughout the whole game, several plays could have been turning points in the game, until the other team came back with a great play of their own. This article examines several of the big plays that took place during this exciting playoff matchup.

The first potential turning point play came on New Orleans’ first drive, as San Francisco was able to recover a New Orleans’ fumble. Fortunately, for New Orleans, San Francisco was unable to score on the ensuing drive and punted the ball away.  

The next potential turning point plays were San Francisco’s intercepting a Drew Brees pass in New Orleans territory, which led to a touchdown, and San Francisco’s fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff return, which resulted in a San Francisco field goal.

The game went into the game 17-14 in favor of San Francisco. Each team battled back and forth in the third and early part of the fourth quarter.

Then with around four and half minutes left in the fourth quarter, Brees threw a 44-touchdown pass to Darren Sproles, taking a 24-23 lead.

This easily could have been the last score of the game, especially considering how San Francisco was moving the ball in the fourth quarter. However, San Francisco found a spark, moved the ball down the field, and scored on a Alex Smith 28-yard rushing touchdown, after missing the two-point conversion, the score was 29-24, San Francisco. Was that the turning point or final play of the game? Not even, close.

New Orleans got the ball back and proceeded to score on a four-play drive ending with a 66-yard touchdown pass to Jimmy Graham, after the two-point conversion, New Orleans lead 32-29. However, this still was not the last score of the game.

With less than two minutes left in the game, Smith and the San Francisco offense got the ball back, putting together a seven-play drive, where Vernon Davis caught two passes, one being the game winning 14-yard touchdown. This finally was the final score, and San Francisco won the game.

This was a great back and forth game, and in reality San Francisco won because Brees and the New Orleans’ had only one play after San Francisco’s last touchdown. With an extra 30 or 45 seconds, New Orleans might have scored again. 
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