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Play action key for Saints, 49ers

One thing we can expect to see a lot of in Saturday’s playoff game between the New Orleans Saints and San Francisco 49ers is play-action passing.

The Saints and 49ers were very good in that area during the regular season. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees led the NFL by completing 71.4 percent of his passes off play-action and also threw for a league-high 1,583 yards, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Off play-action, Brees threw for 14 touchdowns and four interceptions while compiling a 113.4 NFL passer rating.

San Francisco’s Alex Smith wasn’t nearly as dynamic on play-action, but he was very efficient. Smith completed 64.9 percent of his play-action passes to rank No. 12 in the NFL. Smith threw for 846 yards off play-action.

Smith also threw for five touchdowns with just one interception while compiling a 107.0 NFL passer rating.