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Raiders Down, but Young Is Out : Pro football: Turnovers help 49ers win exhibition, 27-0, but their quarterback breaks his left thumb and might miss opener.

August 09, 1993|STEVE SPRINGER | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALO ALTO — It was thumbs down for both sides Sunday at Stanford Stadium.

Thumbs down on the Raiders for being blown out by the San Francisco 49ers, 27-0, in an exhibition game before a sellout crowd estimated at85,000.

And thumbs down for the 49ers, as well. Just one thumb down, actually. The most important, that of quarterback Steve Young.

Young, the NFL's most valuable player last season, broke the thumb on his passing hand in the first quarter and could be out four to five weeks. The regular season starts in four weeks.

Young suffered the injury when his left hand came down on a helmet. Whether that helmet belonged to a Raider or a 49er, Young wasn't sure. Nor was he even sure at first that the injury was serious.

"It was numb and it didn't really hurt," he said.

Young stayed in for four more plays and set up Mike Cofer's 39-yard field goal before going to the trainer's room.

Even afterward, Young didn't seem that concerned.

"I had a couple of weeks to get ready," he said. "This could be the perfect solution. . . . I will definitely be fresh."

Over in the other locker room, the Raiders also tried to paint a positive picture of Sunday's game. But it took buckets of paint.

Yes, it was only an exhibition game. Yes, these games are supposed to be learning experiences.

But the Raiders learned what they probably already knew. The problems of last season have not been totally swept away by some new faces and a new attitude.

Turnovers, which cost the Raiders so dearly last season, cost them any chance of getting into Sunday's game. They had five to only one for San Francisco.

Quarterback Jeff Hostetler, known for his accuracy with the New York Giants, threw two interceptions.

His first came on the game's opening drive. Hostetler overthrew James Lofton, Eric Davis intercepting and returning it 41 yards to the Raider 13-yard line.

From there, San Francisco drove to its first touchdown, Ricky Watters going over from the one.

One turnover: 49ers 7, Raiders 0.

On the next Raider drive, fullback Steve Smith fumbled, and the 49ers responded with Cofer's 39-yard kick.

Two turnovers: 49ers 10, Raiders 0.

On the third Raider drive, Hostetler threw another interception, cornerback Don Griffin winding up with the ball after it was tipped by teammates Kevin Fagan and Mike Walter.

Steve Bono, subbing for Young, used the opportunity to hit Jerry Rice at the back of the end zone with a seven-yard touchdown pass.

Three turnovers: 49ers 17, Raiders 0.

Asked if one explanation for the turnovers might be the timing problems encountered by a new quarterback running the offense, Hostetler nodded.

"There's a lof of that going on," he said. "but I'm not making excuses. I don't like throwing interceptions. It's been a long time since I've thrown two in a game. I don't like it at all."

The game was the opposite of a week ago, when the Raiders cashed in on turnovers by the Green Bay Packers to beat them, 19-3, in the exhibition opener for both teams.

But even when the 49ers went to their second-, third- and fourth-stringers, the Raiders couldn't generate any momentum.

A 29-yard field goal by Cofer gave San Francisco a 20-0 halftime lead, and Charlie Young accounted for the only touchdown after intermission, going over from the one in the fourth quarter.

And yes, he scored after a turnover, backup quarterback Vince Evans throwing his second interception of the day.

"There's not," said Raider Coach Art Shell, "a whole lot of good you can say about a game like today."

Even for the 49ers, who would probably give it all back to get Young back.

Raider Notes

The Raiders were fined $30,000 by the NFL, or $10,000 a day, for banning Daily News sportswriter Eric Noland from their training facility in Oxnard last week. . . . It was the 49ers' 12th consecutive exhibition victory, a string that stretches over three years.

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