SAN FRANCISCO — Once again, Terrell Owens insists he's been misunderstood by Steve Mariucci. And once again, a controversy didn't stop him from coming up with big plays for the San Francisco 49ers.
Owens caught two second-half touchdown passes from Jeff Garcia as the 49ers kept Detroit winless in seven games, beating the Lions, 21-13, on Sunday.
Still steaming from a midweek war of words with Mariucci over the coach's play-calling in a loss to Chicago, the Pro Bowl receiver caught nine passes for 125 yards as San Francisco rallied.
After helping San Francisco to another victory in its surprising season, Owens said his anger hasn't subsided--and he also won't apologize for his words.
"I took a lot of criticism this week, but no matter how bad a coach makes me look, no matter how bad the media tries to make me look, as long as I've got family on my side and the Lord on my side, it doesn't matter," Owens said.
Owens started the controversy on Wednesday when he suggested Mariucci stopped trying to score with a 15-point lead in the second half of a loss in Chicago last week. The Bears rallied for an overtime victory.
Owens said he thought Mariucci's longtime friendship with Bear Coach Dick Jauron played into the decision. Mariucci fired back on Thursday, calling Owens' comments "utterly ridiculous."
The two first clashed last season, when Mariucci suspended Owens for a game following two outlandish touchdown celebrations in a game at Dallas. Owens later claimed he was only praising God for his scores.
"Everybody is criticizing me for standing up for just wanting to win," Owens said Sunday. "If wanting to win real bad is wrong, then I don't even want to be right."
Mariucci barely mentioned Owens in a short postgame news conference. Owens, asked if he thought things would ever be right with Mariucci, said, "No," then left the locker room.
For now, at least, the 49ers (5-2) have no problems winning while their coach and best player are openly feuding.
Owens caught a 30-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter to put the 49ers ahead for good. He added a seven-yard scoring catch early in the fourth quarter.