Monday, December 7, 1992

RICE HELPS 49ERS RIP DOLPHINS

Associated Press

Jerry Rice showed he's a receiver for all seasons.

He caught his 101st career scoring pass on a rainy Sunday at Candlestick Park to become the league's career leader. In the process, he helped the San Francisco 49ers to a 27-3 victory over the Miami Dolphins.
"I've been chasing this for a long, long time," Rice said. "It's a lot of pressure off me now. I can go next week and relax."

Rice, who tied Seattle standout Steve Largent with his 100th scoring reception last week, caught a 12-yard pass from Steve Young for the record-setter with 8 minutes 56 seconds remaining.

"I still admire Steve Largent," Rice said. "He played an important part in my football career - just watching him come up with catches - unbelievable catches."

Rice set the record in his eighth season; it took Largent 14.

"(Rice is) probably the best receiver who's ever played the game and he showed that ability today in making great catches in tough weather," Miami quarterback Dan Marino said.

After an intentional grounding penalty set the 49ers back, Rice ran a quick slant to beat the single coverage by J.B. Brown, coming open over the middle, where he gathered in Young's pass as the rain poured.

"I wanted to stay in the game and help the team to win. At the end, I got the chance," Rice said. "Steve put the ball right where I could catch it."

He was mobbed by teammates in the end zone and then ran off the field triumphantly, thrusting the ball into the air.

"He's had a lot of victims," Brown said. "It was unfortunate for me, but those things happen and you just have to go on."

Rice, the 49ers' leading career receiver, finished with seven receptions for 79 yards. He has 593 catches, ninth on the NFL list, and he surpassed 10,000 receiving yards, the ninth player to do so. He now has 10,037.

Young said he was "really happy" Rice's score came when it did. "It just put the game away."

Miami (8-5) conceded after the Rice score, bringing on reserve quarterback Scott Mitchell for Marino.

"That's about as bad as it gets - we never challenged them," Miami coach Don Shula said. "It would be pretty hard to feel good about anything that happened out there."

Marino completed 19 of 31 passes for 192 yards, but couldn't get the Dolphins into the end zone despite playing against a secondary that came in ranked last in the league.

"We still continue to stop ourselves with penalties and turnovers," Marino said. "We didn't really get anything going. It's really frustrating for us offensively."

The Dolphins, losers of five of seven after a 6-0 start, lost a chance to gain ground in the AFC East. Buffalo maintained a one-game lead over Miami despite losing earlier Sunday to the New York Jets.

San Francisco (11-2), which already has clinched a playoff berth, won its fifth successive game as fullback Tom Rathman scored twice. Rookie running back Amp Lee also scored in his first NFL start. All Miami got was Pete Stoyanovich's 32-yard field goal in the third quarter.