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Rookie McGloin propels Raiders

The Associated Press

HOUSTON — Oakland rookie Matt McGloin was so good in a victory over the Houston Texans that it raised questions about whether Terrelle Pryor will get his job back when he’s healthy.

The undrafted free agent threw three touchdown passes in his first NFL start and the Raiders extended Houston’s franchise-record skid to eight games with a 28-23 victory on Sunday in coach Gary Kubiak’s return from a mini-stroke.

Oakland coach Dennis Allen evaded the question when asked if McGloin would remain the starter when Pryor has recovered from a knee injury.

“Listen, here’s what I’m going to do — I’m going to enjoy this win, all right,” Allen said. “We’re going to go back and we’ll evaluate. But he definitely did a very good job today.”

McGloin was 18 of 32 for 197 yards. Houston’s Case Keenum, also an undrafted free agent, was benched after Houston’s offense stalled in the third quarter.

McGloin threw touchdown passes of 5, 16 and 26 yards to help the Raiders score their most points of the season.

“There is always more to prove and more to do,” McGloin said. “I think I got off to a good start, but we will see.”

49ers 23, Saints 20

NEW ORLEANS — Ahmad Brooks burst into the backfield and leveled Drew Brees, forcing a lost fumble that he thought would seal a San Francisco victory.

Then he noticed the dreaded yellow flag landing near the spot of his big hit.

He knew the call was on him. Soon after, the defending NFC champion 49ers let a second straight game slip away.

The New Orleans Saints capitalized on Brooks’ penalty with a tying 42-yard field goal by Garrett Hartley, then won 23-20 on a 31-yard Hartley kick as time expired on Sunday.

Brooks was flagged for hitting Brees in the head and neck on a violent sack that left Brees with blood on his chin. There was 3:12 left and the 49ers led 20-17.

“I was like, OK, here we go again,” Brooks said of his animated reaction to the penalty. “It was very frustrating. The game could have gone a totally different direction that what it went. I was just mad because that was a big play in the game. We lost, and that’s probably the reason why.”

That wasn’t the only play the 49ers regretted after allowing to the Saints to kick field goals on their last three possessions. Following Hartley’s 21-yard field goal that cut New Orleans’ deficit to 20-17 with 7:50 left, wide-open San Francisco running back Frank Gore dropped a pass from Colin Kaepernick with a blocker in front of him and only one Saints defender on his side of the field.

Gore was thinking 79-yard touchdown. His miscue turned it into a third down, and the 49ers punted.

“I have to make that play,” Gore said. “I’m a better player than that. If I had made that play, we would have won the game.”

A week after losing 10-9 to Carolina, San Francisco struggled again on offense, finishing with 196 yards. Gore picked up 48 yards on 13 carries. Kaepernick went 17 of 31 and passed for two touchdowns but also was sacked three times and threw for only 127 yards. He scrambled three times for 25 yards.

His last run was a 16-yarder that came up just 3 yards short of a first down on third-and-long with less than two minutes to go.

That gave Brees all the time he needed to lead a game-winning drive in regulation.

“You’re going to have games like this,” Brees said. “You still find way to win against a playoff-caliber opponent with a lot at stake at this point in the season. That says a lot.”

No Super Bowl loser has returned to the Super Bowl the following year since Buffalo in 1993, and the 49ers (6-4) have put themselves in a tough position, falling three-and-a-half games behind division rival Seattle.

“The greater the challenge, the greater the glory,” coach Jim Harbaugh said. “That’s the way I look at it. I’m proud of our guys for the way they fight, and if we continue to do that, we’re going to win a lot of games.”