49ers open up attack to close down reeling Rams

November 26, 1991|By Tim Kawakami | Tim Kawakami,Los Angeles Times

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- With their dreams long since washed away the Los Angeles Rams were the victims of some spirited pro-Bono work last night.

Third-string quarterback Steve Bono, who threw for a career-high 306 yards on 18-of-33 passing, could not have been happier with the end result, a 33-10 San Francisco 49ers victory before an Anaheim Stadium crowd of 61,881 and a national television audience not privy to the Rams' season-long woes.

Those that did not switch it off were witness when the wheels came off.

The Rams had given drips and drabs of this before, but last night was the total package, the unraveling, as low as the Rams have gone.

"We were simply overwhelmed by them," Rams coach John Robinson said. "I don't know that there's much else to say. We obviously are a team with some problems."

For the 49ers, it was a game where their offensive problems vanished.

Last week, wide receiver Jerry Rice spoke out, saying he wasn't being used properly in the 49ers' new conservative style of play -- brought about by injuries to quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young.

But, led by Bobo, the 49ers really opened things up -- and the result was a 30-point first half.

"I agreed with Jerry Rice that we didn't open the offense up enough for him," 49ers coach George Seifert said. "So did the other coaches. Obviously, we made more attempts at that tonight."

And Bono took advantage, passing for 274 of his 306 yards in the first half. John Taylor had four receptions for 100 yards in the first quarter alone.

Tight end Brent Jones had two catches for 65 yards and Rice caught four balls for 59 yards.

"We pulled out all the stops, really went after them," Jones said.

"People have been saying we're conservative," said Young, who watched the game in street clothes but said he believes he'll be available Sunday when the 49ers play the NFC West-leading New Orleans Saints at Candlestick Park. "We sure weren't conservative tonight."

Indeed, not. There was a 41-yard bomb to Jones that set up the first touchdown. There was a 78-yard Bono-to-Taylor pass play, a short toss that Taylor turned into a big gainer, setting up the second TD.

There was a 29-yarder to Rice that set up the third touchdown, and a 24-yarder to Jones and an 18-yarder to Tom Rathman to set up the fourth TD.

In other words, it was the same old successful San Francisco passing attack. Only the quarterback was different.

"I was not just speaking for Jerry Rice about the offense but for all the receivers," Rice said. "We have a great bunch of guys and a game like this was satisfying for all of us. We've been waiting all year to explode."

The Rams appear ready to explode, too, but in a negative sense.

Everything that could have occurred to illustrate the collapse of this once-proud team happened in the first half, 30 minutes of unbelievable, unhinged Rams football.

By the time the second half had mercifully come to a close, the 49ers (6-6) were back in the wild-card hunt and the Rams were a lock to finish last in the NFC West for the first time since 1982.

"It's depressing," said tailback Marcus Dupree, who rushed 11 times for only 23 yards as the Rams' running game continued to stall. "But it's got to end sometime, it has to. Right?"

The Rams are 3-9, owners of a six-game losing streak, and will face the 11-1 Washington Redskins Sunday.

The only drama left is whether Robinson can possibly survive it with either his dignity or his job intact, with the odds running against in both cases.

Robinson brushed off a post-game question about his status, but his record since 1989 is 8-20.

Meanwhile, Bono's star is rising as he gains more and more confidence each week.

"I was confident I could do that, I've been around long enough," said Bono, a three-week starter.

"It's a win, we'll take them all. We need to win every game."

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