Saints Pivotal Moments
1985 49ers: Wilsons Spark Upset Behind Makeshift Line
After losing their first two regular season games in Bum Phillips' fifth year as head coach, the Saints won at home over Tampa Bay. Then they hit the road to the West Coast to play 2-1 San Francisco. Bill Walsh's defending Super Bowl champion 49ers started the season with a 28-21 loss at Minnesota before beating the Falcons 35-16 and the Raiders 34-10.
The Saints would play without three of their starting offensive linemen, guards Brad Edel­man and Kelvin Clark and center Steve Korte, who were injured in the victory over Tampa Bay. The club signed four new offensive linemen during the week.
Walsh expected the Saints to run more rollout passes because of their decimated offensive line. "We've been preparing for that all week." The 49ers staff also expected the Saints to use two tight ends often to help block, especially on pass plays.
Walsh said, "We are really concerned about their outside linebackers. There's no question, Rickey Jackson and Whitney Paul are athletes."
The Saints, 16 1/2-point underdogs, hoped to give Coach Phillips a victory on his 62nd birthday.
49ers Score First
The Saints defense set the tone early in the game, stuffing the 49ers on their first five possessions while allowing only three first downs. Two possessions ended with turnovers.
QB Joe Montana said, "We had our chances, especially early when the defense kept getting the ball for us. It seemed like every defense they were in was the right."
Joe would end the afternoon completing just 12 of 26 passes—only the second time in his six-year career he completed less than 50% of his passes. He was also sacked six times, more than any other time in his career. The 49ers would gain only 81 net yards passing, the fewest ever for a Bill Walsh-coached 49ers team.
Nevertheless, the Saints had to pull a trick play to clinch the victory in the last two minutes.
After a scoreless first period, the 49ers took advantage of a poor Saints punt to take the lead. Frisco punter Max Runager pinned the Saints deep early in the second quarter. When the Saints couldn't make a first down, Brian Hansen shanked a punt that gave the Niners possession on the 28.
Four plays later, RB Wendell Tyler scored from the eight after bouncing out of a pile at the five and reversing his field into the end zone. 49ers 7 Saints 0

L: Earl Campbell carries early in the game. R: Rickey Jackson
Saints Avoid Falling Further Behind
The 49ers missed a chance to add to their lead when Mike Walter's interception gave them the ball at their 42. They reached the NO 30 in three plays, but LB Glen Redd forced Tyler to cough up the football, and Clark recovered for the Saints.
Earl Campbell gained only 26y on six carries and was benched in the second quarter for the rest of the game. Offensive coordinator King Hill explained, "Earl is trying so darn hard to make something happen that he's not letting it happen. We will continue to use him. His day will come—just wait and see."
Saints Tie the Score
Thirteen plays later, Hokie Gajan ran over from the four with 39 seconds left in the half. The biggest play on the drive was a holding call of DB Ronnie Lott that gave the Saints new life on the 49ers 47 on a play where Dave Wilson fumbled the ball away. 49ers 7 Saints 7
"The long drive just before the half was key," said Wayne Wilson. "It lifted the entire offense's confidence. We knew we could play with them there."
Saints Take Lead Just Before Halftime
Three plays later, the Saints were back in business when LB Scott Pelluer tipped a Mon­tana pass and rookie LB Jack Del Rio intercepted at the SF 32. The turnover resulted in Morten Andersen's 39y field goal with three seconds left in the half. Saints 10 49ers 7

C Joel Hilgenberg (61) and LT Dave Lafary (64) watch Morten Andersen's field goal sail through the uprights. 19 is holder Guido Merkens.
Rice Injured
The Saints' chance of pulling the upset got a boost when Rice was injured on the last play of the first half. He fielded the kickoff and was running out of bounds when he was hit by Brett Maxie and Alvin Toles and landed on his shoulder. He didn't play in the second half and, for one of the few times in his illustrious career, didn't catch a pass in the game.
The 49ers left the field to a chorus of boos. Walsh read his team the Riot Act at halftime. "He was livid," said one 49er. "The walls were shaking. I've never seen him madder."
49ers Tie the Score
His outburst worked because the 49ers tied the score on Ray Wersching's 42y field goal on their first offensive possession of the third quarter. Saints 10 49ers 10
Saints Regain the Lead
The Saints took advantage of a turnover to retake the lead. Montana's miserable day continued when DB Terry Hoage snagged an interception in 49ers' territory and lateraled to LB Dennis Winston who ran to the26. The Saints couldn't move, but Andersen booted another field goal, this one from 39y. Saints 13 49ers 10

L-R: Brett Maxie, Alvin Toles, Dennis Winston, Eugene Goodlow
49ers Jump Back on Top
Frisco responded with an 80y touchdown march that was given new life by a personal foul penalty against Pelluer.
"That was a clutch situation and a bull crap call," Pelluer said. "I just slid into (WR Freddie) Solomon. The hit was as clean as all get out."
That led to RB Roger Craig's 2y touchdown dive with just over 13 minutes to play. 49ers 17 Saints 13
Saints Strike Fast
Two series later, the Saints took over on their 17 and stunned the 49ers with a three-play touchdown drive. Wayne Wilson zipped through a hole created by a devastating block by T Dave Lafary for 38y—the longest run against the 49ers to that point in the season—to the SF 45. Wilson said afterward, "Credit the whole offensive line on that run. I was patient on it. I waited till the hole opened. Then it was just a matter of going as hard as I could."
After a 2y run by Wayne, the Saints burned a 49ers' blitz on Dave Wilson's 43y touch­down pass to WR Eugene Goodlow. Saints 20 49ers 17 (9:22)
Goodlow explained how he got behind Lott for the winning touchdown. "We caught them in a safety blitz, and their corners were in man-to-man coverage. As I was catching the ball, I wasn't thinking about anything but the touchdown. I thought to myself, 'That's about time it happened.'"
The 49ers had plenty of time to retake the lead, but the Saints' defense wouldn't allow it. They forced three straight three-and-outs, with a sack on each possession.
After the third punt, the Saints started a drive that lasted 17 plays.
Dave Wilson Seals Victory
Dave Wilson made another crucial play to protect the lead with the Saints facing third down on the 49ers 44 with 2:10 left to play. When the Niners called their final timeout, ilson went to Coach Phillips and proposed a naked reverse. He would tell nobody, not even his teammates. Phillips lifted his 10-gallon hat, scratched his head, and said, "Yeah, OK."
Wilson said afterward, "I told our coaches the 49ers expected us to just run it into the line. I knew if I could get it around the corner, that would be it. If it didn't work, I could just fall on the ball. I had a feeling it would open up real big. It took a lot of convincing. Bum wanted to do it. The other guys on the offensive staff weren't too sure. I convinced them it would be safe. I could get the first down and run down the clock."
Meanwhile, 49ers coaches sent word to the defensive huddle to watch out for a naked reverse. SS Carlton Williamson nodded. "Carlton was supposed to blitz," said defensive coordinator George Seifert, "but he also had the responsibility of containment."
Dave called "36 OT on two," a sweep to the right side by Wayne Wilson. When the ball was snapped, the defense exploded toward the Saints' right side. Dave faked the handout and swung wide to his left with the ball on his hip, circled around Williamson, and ran 12y to the 32 for the first down.
Williamson covered his face in embarrassment after he charged into the backfield and let Dave Wilson circle his wagon.
On the sideline, Saints coaches and players fell to the ground and kicked their feet in the air like ecstatic children. The mighty defending champions had been hoodwinked.
With the 49ers out of timeouts, the Saints ran out the clock.
Happy birthday, Bum!
Walsh called the loss "as poor an offensive performance as I've seen since the Bears game a couple years ago (a 13-3 loss in 1983)." He added, "We were probably fortunate that the score was as close as it was."
The 49ers were at a loss to explain the defeat. When asked for an explanation, Ronnie Lott responded, "I don't know. ... I thought we had a real good week in practice this week. If you start tring to figure out reasons why you're losing, you hurt yourself."
Joe Montana: "Maybe we're trying to be too perfect, afraid to make a mistake. I think we just have to say, 'To hell with it' and starting going for it instead of being too reserved."
Roger Craig was asked why he wasn't thrown more passes out of the backfield. "The Saints were dropping everybody back and covering the receivers fairly well. They shut down most of our short passes. It seemed like every defense was just the right one."
Dave Wilson: "In a word, the offensive line was fantastic. There were no offsides, only one holding penalty. I got the time today. They were amazing."
Wayne Wilson, who rushed 24 times for 108y, seemed almost hurt he wasn't clued in on Dave's naked bootleg play. "I went for the handoff, and it wasn't there. I mean, Dave was 5y in the other direction. I was shocked I said, 'Aw, man, he faked me. He faked everybody.'"
Saints TE Hobbie Brenner praised his offensive teammates for the final time-consuming drive that sealed the triumph. "We've had trouble in those situations the last couple of years. We've never been able to work the clock like we did today at the end. This is the best feeling in the world."