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Payback enjoyable for Saints

By By Richard Dark / EMG sports writer
Oct. 21, 2002
NEW ORLEANS It looked for all who witnessed it to be classic role reversal. The San Francisco 49ers were the team who shot themselves in the foot in the end with penalties and turnovers. Not the Saints. One Saint who has been through a lot of years and many more ups and downs in the Crescent City, put this bizarro-world NFL season into perspective. And more importantly, pointed out the evolution of this football team.
The injured special teams captain who could be back next week also suggested sports is cyclical.
Deuce is wild
Saints RB Deuce McAllister had a career-high 139 yards rushing on 21 carries, his fifth 100-yard effort of the year. The team is 5-0 whenever the man from Morton High hits the century mark. "I'm not worried about stats," the NFC's second leading rusher smiled. "I just go play. Your name might be beside a number, but it's really just a total team thing." His four-yard TD catch in the first quarter was his first of the season and second of his career.
Smith watch
After garnering a pair of sacks and a pair of tackles last week against Washington, Meridian's Kenny Smith had one tackle and one assist in limited work against San Francisco.
Did you notice?
An unidentified crazed fan wielding an ink pen ran onto the field and attempted to get into the Niner huddle and sign a player's jersey in the midst of the team's final drive. "He was a star in his own mind," 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia said.
The gesture was no doubt an attempt to mimic the actions of controversial 49er receiver Terrell Owens, who signed a ball after pulling a pen out of his sock during last Monday's game against Seattle.
The fan was on the field for several moments before being subdued and led away by police. Owens recorded four catches for 61 yards and the game's opening touchdown, a 4-yarder. Afterward, he lifted his feet apparently to let his teammates check him for pens. He then tossed the ball to a 49ers fan.
Coming into Sunday, the Niners were tops in the league at 5.4 yards per carry and also in third down conversion percentage (48.3). Against the Saints, that figure rose to 5.7.
Hand hurt
Sunday's injury of note for the Saints was the hamstring of Ole Miss alum Norman Hand. The defensive tackle left the game in the first half and did not return.
Red zone still right
New Orleans scored on all five trips inside the 49ers 20-yard line. The Saints are an astounding 23-of-24 in red zone scoring this year.
Old Rebs clash: It must have seemed like a scrimmage in Oxford when McAllister butted heads with his former Ole Miss teammate Ronnie Heard. The two crossed paths at the end of the first half when he stopped Deuce. He also shoestring tackled McAllister on a screen play near the goal line. He played me pretty well," Deuce said. Afterward, I told him they have a real good team and I have a feeling well see them again down the road."
Smith watch: After garnering a pair of sacks and a pair of tackles last week against Washington, Meridians Kenny Smith had one tackle and one assist in limited work.
Horn O Plen-TD: WR Joe Horn had eight catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns Sunday. It was the third 100 yard-plus game for Horn of the year Over his three-year stint in New Orleans, he has 21 TDs, which ties him for fifth in club history with TE Hoby Brenner.(1981-93).
Sunday's inactives: Other than McAfee, the Saints listed CB Michael Hawthorne, CB Keyuo Craver, LB Travis Carroll, T Scott Sanderson, WR Donte' Stallworth and DE Willie Whitehead. Notables for San Francisco included: K Jeff Chandler, S Zack Bronson, LB Jamie Winborn, WR J.J. Stokes and DE John Engelberger.
No punts today: Saints P Toby Gowin did not set foot on the Superdome turf to punt Sunday. The Saints had nine possessions in which they scored on seven, missed a field goal (the final play of the first half) and fumbled the ball to the 49ers.
Saints Hall of Fame: The Saints Hall of Fame added pair of members over the weekend as DE Frank Warren and former head coach Jim Mora were inducted. Both men were honored in halftime ceremonies. Over 45 Saints alumni were honored during pregame, marking the awarding of the franchise on Nov. 1, 1966.
Good gauge: The question was thrown around in the locker room afterward: Was this the best team you have played? The general consensus was yes. If thats true, consider the beaten 49ers are first in the league at in third down conversions. 52.8 percent. The Saints are second at 49.5
What's next: The Saints stay at home next week against another familiar foe, the Atlanta Falcons, in an attempt to go into the bye week at 7-1.