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Panthers Get Jump on 49ers

October 23, 2000|From Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Steve Beuerlein threw for 309 yards and three touchdowns as he methodically picked apart the 49ers' young secondary in leading Carolina to a 34-16 victory Sunday over San Francisco.

The Panthers jump-started their struggling offense with their longest drive of the season, a dominating 16-play, 80-yard march.

Beuerlein completed six straight passes to move the Panthers to the 22-yard line and finished the drive with a three-yard pass play to Isaac Byrd to give Carolina a 7-0 lead. Beuerlein completed eight of 13 on the drive.

"The way you open up is important in every game," Seifert said. "That's not to say that if you come out with a goose egg on your first series you lose, but to get your club going like that on the first series, that was the key."

The 49ers (2-6) then scored when Jeff Garcia, the league leader in touchdown passes, connected with Terrell Owens on a a 16-yard pass play. It was the ninth time the two have hooked up this season for a score, and the 20th touchdown pass for Garcia.

But Carolina answered with another scoring drive, this one highlighted by a 21-yard pass to Byrd on third and 14 and a 32-yard completion to Donald Hayes on second and 20. It was capped by a two-yard pass play to Tshimanga Biakabutuka.

Garcia, who entered the game with 142 passes without an interception and stretched it to 150, was picked off by Mike Minter on the next series when he overthrew Owens. Minter returned it for a 30-yard touchdown--Carolina's first interception returned for a touchdown since 1998. That gave the Panthers a 21-6 lead.

Beuerlein, who finished 28 for 44, also threw an eight-yard touchdown pass to Biakabutuka in the third quarter. He spread the ball among seven receivers, and hooked up with Muhsin Muhammad nine times for 127 yards.

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