Tuesday, November 10, 1992


Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Steve Young proved that long-term revenge overshadowed the short-term variety Monday night.

Young passed for 143 yards and three touchdowns and San Francisco's defense came up with six turnovers as the 49ers routed Atlanta for the second time in three weeks, 41-3.

The outcome was never in doubt as the 49ers left Atlanta no room to pull off a game-ending ''Hail Mary'' pass as it did in downing San Francisco last year.

''I think last year kind of really stuck with us,'' Young said of losing twice to the Falcons.

''It cost us all the things that we worked for,'' he said. ''It was not easy to sit on.''

Those two losses cost the 49ers a spot in the playoffs at a time when they were playing as well as any NFL team.

Atlanta's short-term revenge went back just three weeks, when the 49ers crushed the Falcons 56-17 in San Francisco.

The 49ers (7-2) climbed back into a tie with New Orleans for first place in the NFC West and the Falcons fell to 3-6.

''It was not a pretty sight,'' Atlanta coach Jerry Glanville said. ''We made it occupational suicide. I thought we played hard and got after them but you just can't beat a good football team by giving the ball away.''

Young's scoring passes covered 12 yards to Odessa Turner in the first quarter, 21 yards to Ricky Watters in the second and 19 yards to Jerry Rice in the fourth quarter.

Merton Hanks fielded a bouncing punt less than two minutes after the Rice touchdown and returned it 48 yards for another score.

The Niners have twice been victims of ''Hail Mary'' passes in Atlanta - losing 17-14 last year and 28-24 in 1983.

Tom Rathman scored the other touchdown on a 2-yard run and Mike Cofer kicked field goals of 40 and 32 yards.

''I think we had six turnovers and, geez, when you get that many, you should win the game,'' San Francisco coach George Seifert said.

''Whenever you can turn the ball over and give it to our offense, that's usually points on the board,'' linebacker Bill Romanowski said. ''That's what our defense has got to do to win.''

Atlanta got a 33-yard field goal from Norm Johnson with two seconds left in the half, cutting the lead to 14-3. It capped a 75-yard drive in which Billy Joe Tolliver accounted for all the yardage while completing six of eight passes.

The tone was set early when Keith Jones took in a short pass from Tolliver and fumbled it away, Romanowski claiming it for the 49ers at the Atlanta 48.

It took nine plays for Young to convert it into a lead the 49ers never lost. Young completed four passes for 34 yards and Watters ran for 17 yards in the drive that ended with the 12-yard pass to Turner with 4:54 left in the first period.

The 49ers failed to convert another first-quarter turnover into points.

Three plays after the Young to Turner touchdown, Don Griffin intercepted a Tolliver pass off Andre Rison's hands at the Atlanta 43. San Francisco failed to move and had to punt.

San Francisco also wasted a 43-yard run by Watters to its 48 after Johnson had punted 37 yards on a fake field goal, out of bounds on the 49ers 2.

Young set up his 21-yard scoring pass to Watters with a 20-yarder to Brent Jones at the Atlanta 31 late in the second quarter.