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Young Injured, but Bono Picks Up 49ers, 31-14 : NFC: Third-stringer throws two touchdown passes, Rathman catches three to beat Giants.

September 07, 1992| From Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — There is no quarterback controversy for the San Francisco 49ers. All three of them can play.

With Joe Montana on the disabled list again and Steve Young on the bench with an injury, Steve Bono threw two touchdown passes Sunday as the 49ers beat the New York Giants, 31-14.

Fullback Tom Rathman caught three scoring passes for San Francisco, one from Young and two from Bono, as the 49ers reversed a 16-14 loss to the Giants in last season's opener.

After Montana went on the disabled list at the start of last season, San Francisco lost four of six games and missed the playoffs despite winning its last six games.

"Last year, we kept looking for a leader," said John Johnson, whose 56-yard interception return iced the victory. "We aren't looking for anyone to get up in the locker room this year and give a speech. Everyone is going to be a team leader."

When Young suffered a concussion in the first quarter Sunday, Bono stepped forward, as he did in the second half of last season.

Bono completed 15 of 22 passes for 187 yards. Rathman, who had four touchdown receptions in his previous six seasons, caught touchdown passes of three, 15 and four yards.

"It was a great day for me personally and it was a great day for the team," said Rathman, who finished with five catches for 34 yards. "The score shows it. It was matter of attitude. We had the attitude we were going to move them and we did."

The loss was the worst opening-day setback for the Giants since a 31-2 decision to the Dallas Cowboys in 1965. It also ended a string of four consecutive opening day victories for New York.

"We could have played better and should have," Giants' cornerback Mark Collins said. "We were prepared for both Young and Bono, and I thought the way we stuck Young it was a good sign for our intensity.

"But Bono showed a lot of poise and it seems that when you have the 49ers where you want them, they come up with the big play."

The 49ers took the lead with two scores in the final 5:09 of the second quarter.

Mike Cofer kicked a 36-yard field goal to break the tie and then Bono passed 15 yards to Rathman to make it 17-7.

The Giants made it 17-14 on Hampton's three-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, but the 49ers pulled away on Bono's four-yard scoring pass to Rathman.

The Giants' Phil Simms, playing in place of injured Jeff Hostetler, completed 20 of 37 passes for 223 yards.

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