The Saints used a handful of huge plays to outlast the 49ers, 41-23 Sunday afternoon in San Francisco.

On the ground, Mark Ingram led the way for New Orleans. He finished the afternoon with 158 yards on the ground, including a 75-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. The score was Ingram's second of the day, as he also hauled in a five-yard pass from Drew Brees.

Ingram bounced back in style a week after being benched by Sean Payton after experience ball security issues.

Sunday was also receiver Michael Thomas' NFL coming out party. The rookie from Ohio State caught five balls for 73 yards and two big touchdowns, including a one-handed grab in the end zone.

As a whole, the Saints offense finished with 571 total yards. Drew Brees ended his afternoon passing for 323 yards and three touchdowns passed And as it turned out, the Saints wound up needed every one of those 571 yards.

The Saints defense gave up 486 yards to a San Francisco offense that had struggled for much of the season. Despite allowing that many yards, Denis Allen's defense found a way to force four 49er turnovers.

Colin Kaepernick finished his day with 398 passing yards and two scores.

After forcing the Saints to punt on their opening drive, the 49ers hit the scoreboard first when Phil Dawson connected on a 49-yard field goal. The 3-0 lead would be San Francisco's last of the day.

Drew Brees and the Saints would go on to rattle off 21 straight points. The Saints got two touchdowns from running back Tim Hightower and another score from tight end Coby Fleer.

49er running back DuJuan Harris cut into the Saints lead when he took a Kaepernick 47 yard pass in for a score. The Saints immediately answer however when Mark Ingram ripped off a 75-yard touchdown run extended the Saints lead to 28-10.

San Francisco then scored 10 straight points, cutting the New Orleans lead to 28-20.

The Saints the halted the 49er momentum with a 26-yard Will Lutz field goal to take 31-20 lead into half time.

In the second half, the Saints would add two more Lutz filed goals and Michal Thomas highlight reel touchdown grab to put the game out of reach.

The win, the Saints second in a row, pushes New Orleans' record to 4-4. Sean Payton's team has now won 4 of its last five after dropping three straight to start the season.

Next week the Saints will welcome defending Super Bowl champ Denver to the Superdome, kick-off is scheduled for 12 pm.