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SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 14: Alex Smith #11 of the San Francisco 49ers looks to pass from the pocket in the fourth quarter of the NFC Divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park on January 14, 2012 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Late-game heroics, stingy defenses and blowouts highlighted this weekend's divisional playoff matchups.
49ers beat Saints 36-32
The Saints haven’t lost a game since the day before Halloween, but a four touchdown night from quarterback Alex Smith and 180 yards receiving from Vernon Davis was downright scary. While Drew Brees (458 passing yards, four TDs) had success against the 49ers secondary, his two interceptions in the first half left him guessing more than usual. The 49ers were also solid against the run allowing just 37 yards on the ground.
Patriots beat Broncos 45-10
Down 35-7 at the half, Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow needed a miracle to send his team to the AFC championship. Sacked five times by an aggressive New England defense and picked apart by a marvelous performance by Tom Brady, Tebow was unable to deliver any magic in a 45-10 Patriots win. Brady threw five first half touchdowns, a new NFL playoff record, three to tight end Rob Gronkowski.
Ravens defeat Texans 20-13
Arian Foster became the first running back to run for over a hundred yards against the Ravens in the playoffs, but three interceptions from T.J. Yates and a two-touchdown performance from Joey Flacco sealed Houston's fate.
Giants beat Packers 37-20
Eli Manning's three touchdowns and 313 yards passing and two sacks apiece from Michael Boley and Usi Umenyiora kept a hungry Green Bay team in check on both sides of the ball. Hakeem Nicks' 165 receiving on seven catches were also a game high.