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49ers Vs. Saints, 2012 NFL Playoffs: Niners Lead 17-14 At Halftime

The story of the divisional playoff game in Candlestick Park between the San Francisco 49ers and the New Orleans Saints has been Saints turnovers. The 49ers won the first quarter by taking a 14-0 lead and even though they were held to only a field goal in the second quarter and the Saints have scored two touchdowns, the 49ers have the momentum due to the fact that they have forced four Saints turnovers -- two Drew Brees interceptions and fumbles by Pierre Thomas and Courtney Roby.

Roby fumbled a kickoff at the very end of the first quarter and the Niners recovered near the Saints' end zone but they were stopped and were forced to kick a field goal, taking a 17-0 lead over the Saints early in the second quarter. Drew Brees and the Saints offense was able to get back in the game on the very next drive. He led the powerful New Orleans offense 80 yards down the field and capped off the drive with a touchdown pass to tight end Jimmy Graham.

After a 49ers three-and-out on the next drive, Brees did it again. This time, a seven play, 66-yard drive was capped off by a 25-yard touchdown pass to Marques Colston, narrowing the Niners' lead to three points.

The Saints seemed to have all the momentum as the Niners were forced to punt again after five plays on their next drive. The Saints were looking to score on three straight drives and take the lead but the 49ers' Tarell Brown was able to steal the momentum back with a huge interception with just over two minutes left in the half.

And, just in case you missed it, here's a GIF of yet another huge hit by safety Donte Whitner on Brown's non-return.


The 49ers weren't able to score as a result of the interception but stopping the Saints from taking the lead is almost just as good. Both teams were held scoreless for the rest of the half and the Niners left the field to head to the locker room with a 17-14 lead at the end of the second quarter.

The 49ers will receive the ball first in the third quarter as they won the coin toss and deferred to start the game.

For updates throughout the second half on the 49ers, check out Niners Nation, and for the Saints, head on over to Canal Street Chronicles.