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Garcia throws four TDs, Owens catches two

12/7/2003

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Jeff Garcia tried to disguise his shock as
he moved under center. Two yards from the end zone, the Arizona
Cardinals somehow had forgotten to cover Terrell Owens, standing
all alone on the left side of the field.

Question on the Cardinals: So, are Blake and Smith part of the plans for next year?
There's no way both players are back next season as starters. I firmly believe Smith will retire after this season and I can't see Blake as the starter next season. Blake is a fine quarterback, but he's past the age where he can be the future of a team and right now the Cardinals need to start thinking about the future.

Question on the 49ers: Is there a QB controversy or is this simply Garcia's job?
A couple of weeks ago, there was a definite controversy starting to brew in San Francisco. But after today's performance, all talk of switching QBs should be squashed. Both QBs have done a great job competing and while doing so helped the team win a couple games.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

"I was trying to look around to see where the cornerback was
hiding," Garcia said. "I just tried not to blow the throw, which
is so easy in that type of situation."

Garcia completed the gift-wrapped touchdown pass to Owens -- and
though the rest of the quarterback's six touchdowns weren't quite
as easy, the 49ers threw quite a birthday party for Owens in their
50-14 victory on Sunday.

Owens caught seven passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns on his
30th birthday, and Garcia threw four TD passes and ran for two more
scores. Kevan Barlow rushed for a career-best 154 yards and a
touchdown as the 49ers (6-7) nursed their faint playoff hopes with
their sixth win in seven games at Candlestick Park.

This one was almost embarrassingly easy, with Owens and Garcia
leading the Niners to their highest-scoring performance since 1994
one week after a 44-6 loss to Baltimore.

"We did almost everything we set out to do in this game, but
now the challenge is to put together a streak of games," said
safety Tony Parrish, who had an interception in his fifth straight
game and a fumble recovery. "If we don't, this is just a blowout,
and it doesn't matter."

The sad-sack Cardinals (3-10), who beat San Francisco in
overtime six weeks ago, lost their fifth straight. They fell behind
34-0 at halftime with equally pathetic efforts on offense and
defense in their biggest loss ever to San Francisco.

"I don't know what their situation was, but they didn't come
out with the same intensity that they had when we played them down
there," linebacker Julian Peterson said.

Tai Streets and Cedrick Wilson also caught touchdown passes from
Garcia, who started the rout with a short scoring run.

Backup quarterback Josh McCown threw his first two career TD
passes for Arizona, which has lost all seven of its 2003 road games
and 12 straight overall. Coach Dave McGinnis' job security has
never been more tenuous, and the Cardinals must finish the season
against Carolina, Seattle and Minnesota -- all likely playoff teams.

"It was a total domination of the 49ers' offense over our
defense," McGinnis said. "We tried to play man-to-man, and we
tried to blitz them. It was clear that we were not covering their
receivers and they were moving at will. ... When you don't cover
people, it's going to look extremely ugly."

Garcia, 19-of-28 for 252 yards, was outstanding in his second
game back from a three-game injury absence. He tied his career-high
for touchdown passes while accounting for six total TDs for the
first time.

The 49ers were without running back Garrison Hearst and Pro Bowl
offensive tackle Ron Stone, but Barlow also excelled in his first
NFL start, breaking a 46-yard TD run in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco needed just five plays to move 73 yards on its
opening drive, scoring on Garcia's 3-yard scramble. Later in the
quarter, Owens performed some sort of mime act in celebration of a
1-yard scoring catch.

Jeff Blake couldn't complete a pass until early in the second
quarter, and Peterson stripped Blake's second completion away from
rookie Anquan Boldin moments later. After Parrish recovered, Garcia
hit Wilson with a 27-yard TD pass.

Boldin was a bright spot again for the Cardinals with nine
catches for 123 yards and a TD. He also made an unbelievable
spinning, one-handed catch late in the first half.

The 49ers got a safety early in the third quarter when McCown
hit offensive tackle L.J. Shelton in the head with a lateral while
the quarterback was being tackled in the end zone. McCown hit James
Hodgins and Boldin for late scores -- while Owens signed autographs
on the San Francisco sideline.

"Wow, that was bad," McCown said. "Sometimes you have to hit
rock bottom to get to the lowest point in order to reach the
highest in the future. That (safety) may have been one of the worst
plays in my career."

Game notes
Raiders LB Bill Romanowski, on injured reserve after a
series of concussions, attended the game in the Fox broadcast booth
while Oakland lost at Pittsburgh. ... Emmitt Smith rushed four
times for 15 yards in his second game back from a broken shoulder
blade. ... San Francisco TE Jed Weaver had four catches for a
career-best 76 yards.