SAN FRANCISCO, DEC. 23 -- Morten Andersen kicked a 40-yard field goal with 4:43 to play today as the New Orleans Saints kept their playoff hopes alive by beating the Joe Montana-less San Francisco 49ers, 13-10.

Montana was not in uniform for the game and the 49ers said he did not play because of a strained abdominal muscle that flared up overnight. It was the first game Montana has missed this season.

"It flared up since {Saturday} night," 49ers Coach George Seifert said. "I believe he could have played . . . but it was just too much of a risk."

Montana watched from the bench in street clothes as the 49ers lost four fumbles, the third of which gave the Saints the ball at the San Francisco 40 midway through the final quarter.

After Gill Fenerty gained 12 yards to the 23, Andersen easily cleared the uprights for the game-winning field goal, giving New Orleans three victories in its last five games.

The Saints are tied with Dallas at 7-8, but New Orleans needs a Dallas loss to Atlanta next week and a victory in its final regular season game next Monday against the Los Angeles Rams to get the NFC's final wild-card playoff berth. Dallas holds the tiebreaker edge because it beat the Saints earlier in the season.

The 49ers, with Steve Young at quarterback, drove to the Saints 25 with a chance to tie only to have Dexter Carter fumble a handoff. Linebacker Rickey Jackson recovered with 47 seconds left.

Young, starting his first game this season, completed 22 of 37 passes for 208 yards for San Francisco (13-2). He also was the game's leading rusher, gaining 102 yards on eight carries.

The 49ers also rested starting running back Roger Craig and all-pro safety Ronnie Lott, both of whom have knee problems but are not on the injured list.