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49ers Get Past Troubles, Mariucci

October 06, 2003|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — Once Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia got back in step at the pregame breakfast, not even Steve Mariucci could trip them up.

Owens caught five passes for 79 yards and a touchdown as the San Francisco 49ers spoiled their former coach's homecoming, methodically beating the Detroit Lions, 24-17, on Sunday.

Garcia completed 15 of 27 passes for 192 yards and rushed for another score, but his biggest play came in the hours before kickoff. Over breakfast, the three-time Pro Bowl quarterback and his All-Pro receiver reached a delicate peace in their tumultuous relationship -- and they celebrated by making several big plays against Mariucci's Lions.

Garcia barely spoke to Owens all week after the receiver criticized him, but he was the first to greet Owens for a celebration after a touchdown catch in the first quarter.

"Both of us were very uncomfortable with the way it had gotten and didn't want to see it go on any longer," Garcia said. "I don't like having any sort of negativity in the locker room. ... Considering the distractions that took place this week, it was a difficult week."

It was similarly difficult for Mariucci, who knows plenty about the 49ers' penchant for high drama. He went 57-39 in six seasons with the 49ers, leading them to the NFC West title and the second round of the playoffs last season before being fired.

"I suppose a little bit of everything -- hard, exciting, different," Mariucci said of his feelings. "I tried to minimize it as much as I could. Needless to say, it was different."

Detroit (1-4), however, couldn't move the ball consistently in its fourth straight loss.

The 49ers (2-3) ended a losing streak at three games with just enough offense to extend the Lions' road losing streak to 19 games.

Joey Harrington completed 19 of 35 passes for 200 yards, but had two passes intercepted as the Lions never led despite one of their defense's most impressive recent outings.

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