Final

Lions 13

(0-7, 0-4 away)

49ers 21

(5-2, 3-1 home)

Coverage: FOX

4:05 PM ET, November 4, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
DET 7 3 3 013
SF 0 7 7 721

Familiar surroundings don't help Mornhinweg's plight

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Once again, Terrell Owens insists he's been misunderstood by Steve Mariucci. And once again, a controversy didn't stop him from coming up with big plays for the San Francisco 49ers.

Terrell Owens

Terrell Owens didn't let a feud with his coach stop him from grabbing two TDs Sunday.

Owens caught two second-half touchdown passes from Jeff Garcia as the 49ers kept Detroit winless, beating the Lions 21-13 on Sunday.

Still steaming from a midweek war of words with Mariucci over the coach's play-calling in a loss to Chicago, the Pro Bowl wideout caught nine passes for 125 yards as San Francisco rallied.

After helping San Francisco to another victory in its surprising season, Owens said his anger hasn't subsided -- but he also won't apologize for his words.

"I took a lot of criticism this week, but no matter how bad a coach makes me look, no matter how bad the media tries to make me look, as long as I've got family on my side and the Lord on my side, it doesn't matter," Owens said.

Owens started the controversy on Wednesday when he suggested Mariucci stopped trying to score with a 15-point lead in the second half of a loss in Chicago last week. The Bears rallied for an overtime victory.

Is Garcia-to-Owens the most lethal combination in the NFL?
Statistically, it looks like it -- they've combined for 20 touchdowns in 20 games. That's a pretty lethal connection, if you ask me.

Even after all that went on during the week with Terrell Owens -- he had criticized the play-calling of coach Steve Mariucci in last week's overtime loss to the Bears -- Owens came out and produced today. The 49ers were down and they rallied, so give Owens, Garcia and the 49ers as a team credit for hanging tough after that tough loss last week.

Some other stellar quarterback-receiver tandems that come to mind: Peyton Manning-to-Marvin Harrison (Colts) and Brett Favre-to-Antonio Freeman (Packers).

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

Owens said he thought Mariucci's longtime friendship with Bears coach Dick Jauron played into the decision. Mariucci fired back on Thursday, calling Owens' comments "utterly ridiculous."

The two first clashed last season, when Mariucci suspended Owens for a game following two outlandish touchdown celebrations in a game at Dallas. Owens later claimed he was only praising God for his scores.

"Everybody is criticizing me for standing up for just wanting to win," Owens said Sunday. "If wanting to win real bad is wrong, then I don't even want to be right."

Mariucci barely mentioned Owens in a short postgame news conference.

When asked if he thought things would ever be right with Mariucci, Owens said, "No," then left the locker room.

For now, at least, the 49ers (5-2) have no problems winning while their coach and best player are openly feuding.

Owens caught a 30-yard TD pass early in the third quarter to put the 49ers ahead for good. He added a 7-yard scoring catch early in the fourth quarter to cap an 87-yard drive.

Owens and Mariucci didn't congratulate each other after either of Owens' TDs. In fact, Owens appeared to avoid the center of the 49ers' sideline all afternoon, though he has been known to stand away from his teammates for years.

"I don't think their off-field struggles with having a relationship should affect what we do on the field," Garcia said. "I thought (Owens) did a great job of fighting through any negativity in the whole week of practice. ... None of us criticized T.O. We came out today, and it was business as usual."

Garcia was 26-of-35 for 296 yards and three TDs, but he threw two interceptions and fumbled while playing with a knee brace.

Mornhinweg, the 49ers' offensive coordinator in the previous four seasons, got the Lions off to a fast start. But Detroit (0-7) couldn't find a way to stop Owens and Garcia, who grew into Pro Bowlers last season under Mornhinweg's tutelage.

"Our opponents remain faceless to us," Mornhinweg said. "However, you do take as much emotion out of it as you can, especially up here in San Francisco. Being on the visiting side was different. The glare was pretty good. I've never been in the visitors' locker room, ever."

With Mornhinweg jumping and screaming with enthusiasm on the sideline, the Lions -- who managed 131 total yards to San Francisco's 427 -- made one final drive from their 9 to midfield.

But Detroit's Larry Foster dropped a pass inside the 5 with 1:20 left. The 49ers, who blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter last week in Chicago, finally took a breath when Charlie Batch's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

Along with the huge yardage disparity, San Francisco held the Lions without an offensive touchdown. Detroit's only TD came on Robert Bailey's 74-yard interception return on the 49ers' opening drive.

"We've been depending on our offense to outscore teams," Bailey said. "The defense is not getting it done. Other teams are moving the ball at will against us."

The 49ers finally got rolling with rookie tight end Eric Johnson catching a 4-yard TD pass 54 seconds before halftime.

Game notes
The Lions, the NFL's last winless team, haven't won in seven trips to San Francisco since 1975. ... Detroit blocked two field goal attempts by Jose Cortez -- the second from 19 yards with 1:54 left, setting up the final drive. ... Detroit rookie QB Mike McMahon played one series in each half. Batch, benched for Ty Detmer earlier in the season, wasn't pleased. "That's not a position you go back and forth on. It's not," Batch said.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERDETSF
detTD7:16Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 55 yds, 0:00
60
det7:16
Drive info: 1 plays, 55 yds, 0:00
70
SECOND QUARTERDETSF
sfTD0:59Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 74 yds, 3:27
106
sf0:59
Drive info: 8 plays, 74 yds, 3:27
107
THIRD QUARTERDETSF
sfTD10:28Touchdown
Drive info: 10 plays, 66 yds, 5:02
1013
detFG6:49Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 36 yds, 3:21
1314
SECOND QUARTERDETSF
detFG4:54Jason Hanson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 39 yds, 5:05
100
THIRD QUARTERDETSF
sf10:28
Drive info: 10 plays, 66 yds, 5:02
1014
FOURTH QUARTERDETSF
sfTD14:26Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 88 yds, 13:30
1320
sf14:26
Drive info: 8 plays, 88 yds, 13:30
1321