49ers have last say over 'Skins In battle of leaders, S.F. wins in OT, 19-16

November 25, 1996|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Redskins found out the hard way yesterday just what separates them from the San Francisco 49ers as one of the elite teams in the NFL.

"The 49ers have a mystique about them that makes them believe they're going to win games and they like to do some talking," said Washington quarterback Gus Frerotte. "Our guys aren't going to take it and we gave it right back to them."

While the Redskins might have gained a draw in the trash-talking battle, they lost the game 3: 24 into overtime when Jeff Wilkins kicked a 38-yard field goal that gave San Francisco a 19-16 victory in a duel of NFC division leaders that lived up to expectations at RFK Stadium.

Despite the loss, Washington remained atop the NFC East with an 8-4 record. Dallas and Philadelphia are tied for second at 7-5.

Forget Steve Young's two recent concussions and talk that the 49ers (9-3) have lost a little edge this season.

Young completed 33 of 41 passes for 295 yards and directed impressive drives to tie the game late in regulation and to set up DTC the winning field goal in overtime.

He also scrambled four times for 25 crucial yards and completed 20 straight passes from late in the second quarter to late in the fourth quarter.

Young was 14-for-15 passing in the fourth quarter and 1-for-2 in overtime.

Washington defensive tackle Sean Gilbert said of Young: "He has the will to win. He has a strong will to win."

Young even drew some high praise from a usually reserved 49ers coach George Seifert: "I thought he demonstrated a couple of times the Steve Young that we know as far as scrambling ability and he threw the ball well. He did a great job. I know that Steve felt good physically and he's excited about playing these last five ballgames."

Young accomplished what he did despite being under heavy pressure all day from the Washington defense and was sacked three times -- twice by Rich Owens and once by Brian Walker.

Jerry Rice also played a huge role in Young's triumphant return as the starting quarterback, catching eight passes for 87 yards, including one for 14 yards in a 48-yard drive that set up the winning field goal.

Darrell Green, Washington's 36-year-old cornerback, was matched up on Rice often yesterday and came away with one consolation -- he kept Rice out of the end zone.

The same could be said for the entire Washington defense -- it prevented Young from scoring or throwing a touchdown pass.

In many ways, the Redskins' defense played well enough to win.

It was just that the Washington offense was haunted in the second quarter by having to settle for two Scott Blanton field goals after twice driving inside the San Francisco 5-yard line.

On the first march, Washington had first-and-goal at the 2-yard line and went to running back Terry Allen two straight times, first for a 1-yard gain and then a 1-yard loss. Then on third down, Frerotte tried to hit closely covered tight end Jamie Asher in the end zone, and Asher couldn't make the catch.

The next drive inside the 5 failed to result in a touchdown when Allen carried three straight times from the 13 and could only gain 8 yards.

When Washington coach Norv Turner was asked if he had any second thoughts about his play-calling inside the 5 in the second quarter, he said: "We've been awfully good running the football this season down there, but we didn't take advantage of our chances today. San Francisco overplayed the run more today than any time I've seen on film this season."

San Francisco won the toss to get the ball at the start of overtime, and on the first play, Young tried to hit Terry Kirby on a short route down the left sideline.

Green almost intercepted, the ball going off his fingers. Young never gave the Redskins a second chance.

"The whole game was like a coin toss," said Washington defensive end Dexter Nottage. "And it seemed like they had a two-headed coin."

Pub Date: 11/25/96

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