Tuesday, September 3, 1991
GIANTS EDGE 49ERS 16-14
EAST RUTHERFORD, N. J. -- Where have we seen this before?
Matt Bahr, who beat the 49ers with a last-second field goal in last season's
NFC title game, did it again Monday night, connecting from 35 yards with
five seconds left for a 16-14 Giants victory.
It was Chapter III in a series of defensive struggles the past nine months
between the East Coast and West Coast heavyweights who have won the last
two Super Bowls.
The Giants, the defending Super Bowl champs, have won two of the three games
between the teams despite scoring only one touchdown, that a 1-yard run
by Ottis Anderson Monday night. The teams have each scored 34 points in
the three games.
''That's what it's all about,'' said Anderson, the 34-year-old Super Bowl
MVP who contributed a key 5-yard, third-down run to the final drive that
gave Ray Handley a win in his first game as Giants coach.
''Obviously, it's a great feeling,'' said Handley, who took over when Bill
Parcells retired last May 15. ''I didn't put so much emphasis on this game
that it was a make-or-break situation. With San Francisco I didn't think
you could do that.''
Bahr made him the winner.
''We get it down close and Matt will kick it through nine times out of 10,''
Bahr's kick ended the 49ers' league-record road winnin g streak at 19 games.
He shared the spotlight with Jeff Hostetler, who beat out Phil Simms for
the starting quarterback job. He showed he deserved it. While spotty at
times, he completed 17 of 31 for 228 yards and ran five times for 45 yards.
''They did what they had to do,'' said 49ers quarterback Steve Young, who
was subbing for the injured Joe Montana. ''They've done it to us a couple
Hostetler, now 8-0 as a starter in his career, made every play that counted
during the 61-yard, 13-play drive that began at the New York 22 with 4 minutes
28 seconds left and ended with Bahr's field goal. It started with a 14-yard
pass to Stephen Baker and included a third-down, 11-yard connection with
Mark Ingram that put the ball at the 26, well within the range of Bahr,
who earlier had a 51-yarder fall just short.
''I knew we were going someplace when I hit Baker,'' Hostetler said. ''But
the big one was hitting Mark Ingram on that third-down play.''
The 49ers were hoping for another 51-yarder.
''On that last drive, we just wanted to hold them to make them kick a long
field goal,'' said Charles Haley, who led the 49ers' defense. ''Unfortunately,
it ended up just like the playoffs.''
Young had put the 49ers ahead 14-13 with a 5-yard scramble 1:23 into the
fourth quarter. Young was 12 of 22 for 162 yards and led San Francisco in
rushing with 45 yards in six carries. One of his completions was a 73-yard
TD pass to Jerry Rice that gave the 49ers a 7-3 first quarter lead.
A 25-yard scramble by Hostetler and a 16-yard pass from Hostetler to Howard
Cross set up Anderson's 1-yard TD run 4:55 into the second quarter and then
Bahr, who had a 35-yarder on the Giants' first possession, kicked a 28-yarder
that made it 13-7 at the half.
The third quarter was scoreless, but Haley and the San Francisco defense
began to assert itself.
Late in the period, Haley knocked a ball from Hostetler's hands. Even though
the New York quarterback recovered, it was at his own 10. When Sean Landeta
got off a punt of only 32 yards, San Francisco was in business.
Young made one key play when he completed a third-down pass for 13 yards
to Brent Jones at the 5. Then he rolled left into the end zone as Guy McIntyre
dragged down Lawrence Taylor, the only Giant near him.
The Giants moved to the San Francisco 34 on their next possession, but Bahr's
field goal from 51 yards was just short. The next time, they made sure they
got close enough.
Notes: Anderson moved into a tie for 17th place in career touchdowns when
he scored on a 1-yard run in the second quarter. The touchdown was his 86th,
tying him with former Cleveland and Miami star Paul Warfield. Next on the
list is Lance Alworth with 87 and Don Maynard with 88.
Giants cornerback Everson Walls also broke into the top 20 in career interceptions,
getting his 51st when he picked off a Steve Young pass in the third quarter.
He pulled into a tie with Ronnie Lott of the Raiders and Bobby Bryant, formerly
with the Vikings. ... The Giants' 16-14 victory over the 49ers made it a
clean sweep for the NFC East on the opening weekend of action.