Saints’ Colston sets franchise record with 56th career TD

NEW ORLEANS – For the second straight week, Saints wide receiver Marques Colston recorded a significant milestone — this time setting the franchise record for career touchdowns in Sunday’s 31-21 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.

Colston caught a 10-yard scoring pass from Drew Brees with 7:53 left in the second quarter, which was the 56th touchdown of his seven-year career.

That enabled Colston, who caught his 500th career pass last Sunday, to break a tie with Deuce McAllister, who had 55 touchdowns from 2001-08.

BUNKLEY EJECTED: Saints defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley was disqualified from the game after free safety Malcolm Jenkins blocked a 32-yard field-goal attempt by the 49ers with 1:05 left in the contest.

Bunkley was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and ejected. TV replays showed he kicked 49ers offensive lineman Alex Boone in the helmet while Boone was lying on the ground.

“One of the keys to this game is keeping your poise,” Saints interim coach Joe Vitt said. “He’s got to keep his emotions under control and do the right thing.”

TOUGH TIMES: Rookie Bryce Harris got his first NFL start at right tackle because Zach Strief and backup Charles Brown were sidelined with injuries, but Harris was lost on the Saints’ 12th play while blocking on a running play.

Harris didn’t return after suffering an injury to his right leg. He was replaced by William Robinson, who was signed just Wednesday after Brown went down with a knee injury last week.

SPROLES RETURNS: Running back Darren Sproles was active Sunday for the first time since fracturing his left hand on Oct. 28.

Sproles did not have a rushing attempt, but he led the team in receptions (seven) and receiving yards (65) and returned one punt for 3 yards.

INACTIVES: The Saints’ inactives were Strief (groin), Brown (knee), CB Corey White (knee), DE Junior Galette (ankle), CB Elbert Mack (concussion), LB Scott Shanle, and DT Tyrunn Walker.

The only inactive of note for the 49ers was RB LaMichael James.

INJURIES: In addition to Harris, Saints wide receivers Marques Colston and Lance Moore went to the locker room to be checked for concussions after taking hits to the head in the second half. But both returned.

Niners running back Kendall Hunter (ankle) and wide receiver Kyle Williams (knee) were hurt on the same play in the third quarter and neither returned.

STREAK ENDS: The Saints’ streak of 14 consecutive wins in November came to an end with the loss to the 49ers after winning all three games played earlier this month. Their last loss in the month came at Tampa Bay on Nov. 30, 2008.

LAGNIAPPE: The Saints are 19-28 when Brees has at least 40 pass attempts after throwing 41 Sunday. They’re 48-12 when he throws fewer than 40. … Brees did extend his two NFL-record streaks with a TD pass in his 54th straight game and had at least 20 completions for the 47th consecutive game. … Rookie running back Travaris Cadet again returned kickoffs even though Sproles was back and averaged 29.6 yards per return with a long of 36. … Running back Chris Ivory, who didn’t play in the first seven games, made his first start of the season.