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New Orleans Saints vs San Francisco 49ers: Notebook

The Saints improve to 8-2 with Sunday’s 23-20 victory

*The Saints improve to 8-2 with Sunday's 23-20 victory and have a 1 1/2-game lead in the NFC South over the Carolina Panthers (6-3); the Panthers play at home against New England on Monday night. The Saints play their next two games on the road, beginning Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons. Kickoff is at 7:25 p.m. CST.

*With the victory, the Saints have exceeded last season's win total of seven.

*The win was New Orleans' eighth in its last nine regular-season meetings against San Francisco.

*The Saints won on Garrett Hartley's 31-yard field goal as time expired. It was the second time this year Hartley has kicked a field goal on the game's final play, along with the 17-16 win at Tampa Bay in Week 2, and the second time in his career Hartley has kicked a game-ending field goal to beat the 49ers (2010 Week 2 at San Francisco).

*QB Drew Brees completed 30 of 43 passes for 305 yards, one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 87.8. It was Brees' 16th fourth-quarter comeback as a Saint, the fourth-highest total in the NFL since 2006.

*Brees' first-quarter touchdown pass was the 350th of his career. He is the fourth quarterback in NFL history to reach that mark, joining Brett Favre (508), Peyton Manning (469 entering Sunday night's game) and Dan Marino (420).

*In the first quarter, Brees became the sixth quarterback in NFL history to reach 49,000 career yards passing. He joins Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, John Elway and Warren Moon in the group of quarterbacks who have thrown for more than 49,000 yards. Brees enters Thursday's game with 49,288 career passing yards, 37 behind Moon.

*Brees' 300-yard passing game was the 75th of his career – second in NFL history to Peyton Manning's 80 (prior to Sunday night) – and his 68th in 121 career games as a Saint.

[internal-link-placeholder-0]*Brees topped the 200-yard passing mark for the 40th straight game.

*Brees completed passes to 11 different receivers, the second time this year he has connected with at least 10 different targets. He completed passes to 10 receivers against Buffalo in Week 8.

*WR Robert Meachem caught two passes for 78 yards. His catches covered 44 and 34 yards.

*RB Pierre Thomas led the Saints with 49 yards rushing on 11 carries and also caught five passes for 35 yards. Thomas moved past Chuck Muncie into fifth place on the Saints' career rushing list with 3,387 yards, and is just 21 yards behind Rueben Mayes for fourth all-time.

*RB/KR Travaris Cadet's 82-yard kickoff return in the second quarter is the longest by a Saint since Darren Sproles had a 92-yard return against Atlanta on Dec. 26, 2011.

*FB Jed Collins' 1-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was his first rushing touchdown since 2011 and the third of his career. His last receiving touchdown came on Nov. 25, 2012, also against San Francisco.

*TE Josh Hill scored his first career touchdown on a 2-yard reception in the first quarter. The TD catch came on Hill's third career reception. His two previous catches came in Week 8 against Buffalo..

*TE Jimmy Graham led the Saints with six receptions, covering 41 yards. Graham has a team-leading 60 receptions this season.

*G Ben Grubbs played in his 100th career NFL game on Sunday.

*The Saints' 97-yard drive for their first touchdown of the day was the longest scoring drive of the season in terms of yards. The last time a Saints team that a scoring drive that long was in Week 16 of 2012 at Dallas, when they drove 98 yards for a touchdown.

*The Saints held the 49ers to 196 total yards, the second straight week New Orleans has held the opposition to less than 200 total yards. It's the first time since the first two weeks of 2000, against Detroit and San Diego, that the Saints have held back-to-back opponents to less than 200 yards.

*CB Corey White's second-quarter interception was his first of the season and the second of his career. His other pick came on Nov. 11, 2012, against Atlanta.

*LB David Hawthorne led the defense with a team-high eight tackles (six solo).

*DT Akiem Hickshad seven tackles, second-most on the team, and his second sack of the season.

*OLB Junior Galette had a sack for -9 yards with 2:01 remaining. It was his sixth sack of the season, a career high.

*The Saints defense came into the game having gotten stops on their previous 13 third-down plays, including 0-for-9 last week against the Cowboys. They held the 49ers offense without a first down on their first three possessions to extend the streak to 16 before the 49ers converted on third down on their fourth possession.

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