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NFL WEEK 4 | SAN FRANCISCO 34, ATLANTA 7

49ers Strike Familiar Pose in Victory

September 22, 1997|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Steve Young's job was finished in little more than a half. Ken Norton Jr. started celebrating in the third quarter with a triumphant boxing display. And Jerry Rice, on crutches and rooting from the sideline, watched the San Francisco 49ers come to life against a familiar patsy.

Young had touchdown passes of 56 yards to Terrell Owens and 10 yards to J.J. Stokes, and Terry Kirby ran for two touchdowns as the 49ers defeat the Atlanta Falcons, 34-7, Sunday.

"We're just trying to make plays and make things happen," Owens said. "We're working extra hard. It's expected for us to play up to the standards and traditions of the 49ers, and today we were able to go out and make some big plays. The defense was outstanding and everybody was feeding off each other."

Including Rice, who provided sideline inspiration.

Stokes sought out Rice and gave him a hug after his scoring catch, and Owens did the same, giving the ball he caught to Rice, who says his role will be coach and cheerleader while he's rehabilitating.

The point output was the 49ers' biggest since losing Rice, their chief playmaker, to a knee injury in a season-opening 13-6 loss at Tampa Bay. Sunday's victory came against a Falcon team that started Billy Joe Tolliver in place of injured Chris Chandler and was outgained 424-216.

The 49ers (3-1) have outscored the Falcons (0-4), 257-95, in the teams' last six meetings in San Francisco.

"The thing about the 49ers is their defense doesn't get the publicity," Tolliver said. "People forget how solid their defense has been playing for the last 15 years. Their front seven is as good as anybody."

Young, who was 17-of-24 passing for 336 yards, left after putting San Francisco ahead, 31-0, by leading his fourth touchdown drive of the day.

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