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Niners drive Raiders away

©Associated Press
November 4, 2002

OAKLAND, Calif. -- The 27-yard kick to end regulation went wide left. Jose Cortez knelt in agony as Raider Nation joyously screamed for overtime.

But when things were at their silver-and-blackest Sunday, Jeff Garcia smiled. Terrell Owens shouted encouragement to the crushed kicker, and with one more drive that recalled the best days of the storied franchise, San Francisco beat Oakland 23-20 on Sunday.

Atoning for his 27-yard miss on the final play of regulation, Cortez made a 23-yard field goal 8:41 into overtime that capped more than 15 consecutive minutes of ball control by the 49ers.

"It was gritty, it was courageous, it was off the charts," San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci said. "This team was not intimidated by this crowd, nor by the distractions."

The 49ers ran the final 30 plays, and that was after a 15-play, 88-yard drive that ate up almost nine minutes spanning the third and fourth quarters.

San Francisco's dynamic duo largely was responsible, with Garcia passing and scrambling spectacularly and Owens carving up the weary defense.

Owens caught 12 passes for 191 yards in his best game of the season. Garcia was 25-of-36 for 282 yards, completing 17 of 19 after halftime and rushing for 46 yards.

"I was very emotional in the locker room after the game, but that was relief more than excitement," Garcia said. "Being a Bay area guy and following both these teams my whole life, it has to be my most satisfying win."

After Tai Streets' 2-yard touchdown catch capped San Francisco's 88-yard drive with 12:57 left, the Raiders tied it at 20 with 6:33 left on Charlie Garner's 10-yard run.

The score capped a 10-play, 60-yard march.

It was a grim day for the Raiders' Jerry Rice, who played against his former team in the regular season for the first time.

Rice set every significant league receiving record in 16 seasons with the 49ers, and Sunday he had six catches for 74 yards. But when the game was on the line, he was stranded on the sideline as San Francisco's next generation of offensive stars dominated.

"When you can't get the ball in the second half, what can you say?" Rice asked. "We were parked on the sideline. Jeff Garcia, he just kept doing it. It's very frustrating, but ... we still have eight games to go."

The Coliseum crowd rained taunts and insults on the 49ers' bench all afternoon, the main reason that most players kept their families at home for a 32-mile road trip. Center Jeremy Newberry's father attended and faced a torrent of abuse.

The Raiders have lost four straight after a 4-0 start.

"(Garcia) was tough as hell today. He was giving it to me," Oakland cornerback Charles Woodson said.

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