Deuce gives Saints some juice

The Vikings' next opponent is getting a key offensive component back in action with the return of RB Deuce McAllister.

The Saints were a team in dire need of a shot of energy after tough back-to-back road losses when they returned home Sunday to face the San Francisco 49ers.

So who better to give it to them than two-time Pro Bowl running back Deuce McAllister? Fans sensed all week that McAllister, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, would get extended playing time for the first time since tearing his left ACL in Week 3 last season.

So coach Sean Payton, who was reluctant to put McAllister on the field until he was ready to take the pounding NFL running backs take, gave the fans what they wanted — trotting out McAllister, the team's all-time leading rusher, during pregame introductions.

A raucous welcome ensued, and, after a slow first quarter, McAllister — and his loyal fans — gave the Saints the juice they needed to stop the mini-losing streak in a 31-17 win over the 49ers.

The familiar chant of "D-E-U-U-U-C-E" went up every time McAllister, who did not play in two of the Saints' first three games and had just two carries for 10 yards in the other contest, touched the ball or made the slightest move.

He rewarded them with 73 rushing yards and a 1-yard TD dive on 20 carries and also caught one pass for 10 yards in the crucial victory.

"I just wanted to play when you have missed as much time as I have," said McAllister. "Knowing that it's a pretty good team that we have over the last couple of years, you just want to go out there and play — whether it's third-and-short or fourth-and-1. I just wanted to be on the field."

McAllister punctuated his return with the touchdown that gave the Saints a 28-9 lead early in the fourth quarter, then ran six straight times for 17 yards as the offense milked the clock late in the game.

"People were wondering about this guy coming off double-knee surgery," McAllister said. "We put a lot of time in with the trainers and the strength coaches. They told me I was ready, and I believed in what we were doing."

McAllister said the dive over the top of the 49ers' defensive front proved at least one thing.

"It proved that I've got a little bit left in me," a beaming McAllister said. "I can still play, I can still get up."

NOTES

  • Saints quarterback Drew Brees reached a personal milestone Sunday in his team's 31-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

    Brees went over the 10,000-yard mark in passing as a member of the Saints when he hit wide receiver Robert Meachem for a 47-yard touchdown pass with 52 seconds to play in the second quarter.

    Brees, who has an NFL-best 1,343 passing yards in four games this season, reached 10,000 yards in just 36 regular-season games with the Saints since signing with the team as an unrestricted free agent in 2006. He now has a total of 10,184 yards, which ranks fifth on the team's all-time list.

  • Running back Deuce McAllister, who saw his extended playing time for the first time since tearing his left ACL in Week 3 of the 2007 season, also reached a milestone against the 49ers.

    He scored the 50th touchdown of his eight-year career on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter when he launched himself over the 49ers defensive line and into the end zone.

    The touchdown gave McAllister 300 points for his career, which ranks third in franchise history among non-kickers behind Dalton Hilliard (318) and Joe Horn (306).

    In the process, McAllister also tied Horn for second on the team's all-time touchdown list behind Hilliard's 53.

  • Brees tossed a total of three TDs against the 49ers, giving him 62 for his 36-game career with the Saints.

    His second touchdown pass of the day, a 33-yard throw to Lance Moore, pushed Brees past Jim Everett (60) into fourth place on the club's all-time list.

  • After committing two turnovers on Sunday, the Saints have played 23 straight games (counting the postseason) with at least one giveaway.

    The last time they had no turnovers was in a 30-7 rout of the New York Giants on Dec. 24, 2006. Under coach Sean Payton, the Saints are 7-0 when they have no giveaways.

  • The Saints defeated the 49ers for the fifth straight time, the first time that's happened in the 70-game series.

    The Saints and Niners, who still hold a 45-23-2 edge in the series, met twice a year from 1970-2001 as NFC West rivals.

  • Payton is now 6-1 against NFC West teams since becoming Saints' head coach in 2006.

  • WR David Patten re-injured his groin against the 49ers and his status for next week's game with the Minnesota Vikings was not known Monday.

  • WR Marques Colston has missed three straight games with a torn ligament in his left thumb and remains in a cast.

  • TE Jeremy Shockey, who had surgery on Sept. 23 to repair a sports hernia, will miss his second straight game Monday night.

  • CB Aaron Glenn did not play Sunday because of a strained ligament in his right ankle and his availability for the Vikings' game was not known.

  • CB Randall Gay missed the game with the 49ers because of a right hamstring injury, but could return against the Vikings.

  • K Martin Gramatica strained his groin in pregame warmups Sunday. He managed to kick a 31-yard field goal, but didn't kick off.

  • P Steve Weatherford handled the kickoff duties for Gramatica after he was injured in pregame warmups.

  • FS Chris Reis, who played mainly on special teams, injured a hamstring against the 49ers and will be monitored this week.

  • FB Mike Karney was inactive for Sunday's game with a sprained right ankle and his availability for next week's game was not known Monday.

  • FB Olaniyi Sobomehin, who was signed off the practice squad when Karney was ruled out of Sunday's game, came out of the 49ers game with shoulder and ankle injuries.

  • RB Aaron Stecker could have played against the 49ers after missing the first three games with a hamstring injury, but coach Sean Payton elected to hold him out again.

  • TE Sean Ryan, who was signed last Wednesday, was released because Mark Campbell was healthy enough to play against the 49ers.


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