Monday, October 5, 1992


St. Louis Post-Dispatch Wire Services

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Los Angeles Rams had an upset in their pocket until Steve Young escaped it -- twice.

Young scrambled for two fourth-quarter touchdowns, then directed a drive that ended with Mike Cofer's winning 21-yard field goal with 1 second to play as the San Francisco 49ers won Sunday.

''He ran like a halfback,'' Rams coach Chuck Knox said. ''We had three or four shots at him.''

Young, who had 60 yards on three runs and completed 20 of 29 passes for 247 yards, said he ran only as a last resort. He said the Rams shut down the passing lanes with zone coverage that blanketed the sides of the field but left the middle vulnerable on his scrambles.

''My first instinct isn't to run anymore but to stay in the pocket,'' Young said. ''I'll take them when they come, but I'm a quarterback. . . . I am not the greatest weapon with a ball in my hands. I'm a better weapon when I'm throwing it or handing off to someone like Ricky Watters.

''Sure, I'll get a couple of runs every once in a while, but if I start looking for that stuff, if I start feeling like that's part of my game, then I think that's a mistake.''

But Rams safety Anthony Newman might disagree.

''He's too big and strong to arm tackle,'' Newman said. ''You have to take his head off.

''That was the toughest part out there today - you're busy covering their receivers, you look up, and the quarterback's running straight at you.''

The 49ers improved to 4-1. The Rams are 2-3.

A 9-yard touchdown pass from the Rams' Jim Everett to Willie Anderson tied the game 24-24 with 1 minute 50 seconds remaining, the fourth tie of the game.

But Young got the 49ers going on the ensuing series, marching them 77 yards in eight plays.

Most of the yardage came on Young's 43-yard pass to Brent Jones.

A 26-yard completion to Jerry Rice gave the 49ers first and goal at the Rams' 5-yard line. Watters ran the ball twice before Cofer kicked the winning field goal.

The Rams lost control of the game when they committed two fourth-quarter turnovers. Young followed up both of them with touchdown runs.

''Without the turnovers in the fourth quarter, we would have had these guys,'' Anderson said.

''We were moving the ball effectively,'' said Everett, who completed 20 of 24 passes for 232 yards and two touchdowns. ''But we knew that we were playing a great team. We knew we had to play mistake-free football. We had about 3 1/2 quarters of it, but . . . we didn't get it done.''

The 49ers went ahead 24-17 when Young scrambled 39 yards for a score with 3:55 remaining.

That touchdown was set up by the Rams' second turnover of the fourth quarter. Everett completed a pass to Jim Price, but safety David Whitmore stripped the ball and recovered the fumble.

Three plays later, Young couldn't get off a pass to a well-covered Rice, so he took off toward the left sideline. He cut back to the middle, avoiding Pat Terrell, and ran the final few yards into the end zone with Robert Bailey on his back.

''When Steve Young runs a lot, it usually means we're doing our job and he's having trouble figuring out the defense,'' said Bailey, who gave the Rams their only lead of the game. ''But at the end, the game got away from us.''

Bailey intercepted a pass early in the fourth quarter and returned it 24 yards for a touchdown for a 17-10 Rams' lead. But the 49ers came up with an interception by linebacker Keith DeLong to set up the TD that tied the score for the third time.