Shoe's on other foot as 49ers routed, 44-9 Inspired Chiefs deliver San Francisco whipping

December 01, 1997|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- How often have the San Francisco 49ers, the five-time Super Bowl-champion 49ers, torched teams by scores of 44 to something?

"We got a taste of our own medicine here today," 49ers cornerback Marquez Pope said.

"We got punched in the mouth," quarterback Steve Young said.

"The game speaks for itself -- and so does the score," 49ers linebacker Lee Woodall said.

It said: Kansas City Chiefs 44, 49ers 9.

It said the Chiefs were punishing, that the 49ers were outhit, that the game became an early runaway and that the 77,535 fans at Arrowhead Stadium enjoyed every moment.

The Chiefs' record climbed to 10-3 as they beat another quality opponent at home (after Pittsburgh and Denver). They won with a backup quarterback (Rich Gannon), a sterling defensive effort and old-fashioned, big-play, physical football.

The 49ers, who had won 11 straight games, saw their record slip to 11-2. They managed only 127 rushing yards and 152 passing yards. After feasting on weak brethren in the NFC West, San Francisco was eager to see how it would stack up on the road against a good team.

The answer? Not well.

"We played as well today as I think we can play at this point in the season," said Chiefs coach Marty Schottenheimer. "We're a good football team. When you're playing in this facility, I don't care how you cut it, you've got an advantage."

Young added: "This is as loud as it gets in the NFL. It makes your offense a little sluggish because you can't get off the ball."

The 49ers played this game as if they never got off the plane.

The Chiefs scored their most points since a game against New Orleans on Sept. 8, 1985 (47). The 44 points allowed by the 49ers were the most since Nov. 12, 1980, against Dallas (59).

Andre Rison got things started for the Chiefs with a 6-yard scoring reception with 7: 03 left in the first quarter. The 49ers got a 33-yard field goal by Gary Anderson to end the period, but the Chiefs struck again in the second quarter with Gannon's scoring pass of 2 yards to tight end Tony Gonzalez.

With Kansas City ahead 14-3 and 7: 07 left before halftime, Gonzalez blocked a punt and recovered the ball at the San Francisco 3. That set up a touchdown run by Marcus Allen.

Seven minutes later, Allen tossed a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ted Popson. Anderson kicked another 33-yard field goal as time elapsed in the first half to make it 28-6, but the game was essentially over.

"It was different," 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said about his locker room at halftime and after the game. "A lot different from the last locker room. I thought we got frustrated and the wheels came off a little bit. It snowballed and we couldn't seem to stop it."

In the second half, the Chiefs scored on another Rison catch of 29 yards, on a safety by linebacker Donnie Edwards and defensive tackle Joe Phillips, and on cornerback Mark McMillian's 12-yard interception return.

Young was sacked five times; Gannon was not sacked. The 49ers had three turnovers, the Chiefs one. Kansas City had the ball 10 minutes more than San Francisco and ran 14 more plays than the 49ers.

"Absolutely, this means a lot, beating this team with that tradition and winning in this fashion," Chiefs left guard Dave Szott said. "In the NFL, when you play the great teams, that is your barometer. We're 10-3. So many thought we'd be a 3-10 team right now."

The Chiefs are winning despite losing their starting quarterback, Elvis Grbac, to a broken collarbone on Oct. 26.

Pub Date: 12/01/97

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