Final/OT

49ers 31

(2-11, 1-6 away)

Cardinals 28

(4-9, 3-3 home)

4:15 PM ET, December 12, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 OT T
SF 7 14 7 0 331
ARI 0 3 7 18 028

49ers blow 25-point lead, but hang on

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) -- Dennis Erickson may not have much time left as San Francisco's coach.

If this was his last game, though, he will go out a winner, thanks to an unlikely pair of stars -- Ken Dorsey and Maurice Hicks.

The 49ers blew a 25-point lead, but regrouped to win the game 31-28 on Todd Peterson's 31-yard field goal with 8:38 left in overtime.

Afterward, Erickson shut down any talk about reports that his job was in jeopardy.

"I'm not going to answer any questions about rumors that are out there and meetings and all the different things," Erickson said. "I'm not going to waste your time or mine talking about rumors."

It was the exact same score as in the teams' first meeting on Oct. 10, when visiting Arizona blew a 16-point lead with 5 minutes to go in regulation and lost in overtime on Peterson's 32-yarder.

"It's amazing," Cardinals quarterback Josh McCown said. "It's a funny league for that to happen. For the tables to be turned and us be the ones to come back, and not to seal the deal. It hurts. We needed this game."

Dorsey and Hicks, starting in place of injured quarterback Tim Rattay and running back Kevan Barlow, made the big plays for San Francisco (2-11) -- which had a 28-3 lead early in the third quarter.

San Francisco is 2-0 against Arizona this season, and 0-11 against everyone else.

Were the 49ers out to win one for their embattled coach?

"We just wanted to win this one for the organization," Dorsey said, "the coaches, the players, everybody. It was definitely a team effort. We needed this one."

Dorsey threw for the first three touchdowns of his two-year NFL career, two of them to Cedrick Wilson. Hicks carried 34 times for 139 yards and a touchdown. His runs of 7 and 17 yards set up Peterson's game-winning kick.

The biggest play of that drive, though, came on third-and-17 from the San Francisco 44, when Dorsey threw 19 yards to Wilson.

"Ken, boy, fires that thing in there," Wilson said. "That's the best play that we've made in a long time."

Hicks, who went undrafted and was with the Scottish Claymores of NFL Europe last season, played the fourth quarter and overtime with bruised ribs.

"I couldn't see myself coming out because they needed me at a tough time," he said.

McCown, back at quarterback for Arizona (4-9) after being benched for three games, directed three second-half touchdown drives, then Neil Rackers' 22-yard field goal with 59 seconds to go sent the game into overtime.

McCown went 26-of-44 for a career-best 307 yards with one interception but no touchdowns.

Emmitt Smith, who missed one game with a sore big left toe, capped Arizona's last TD drive with an 8-yard run, then McCown ran for the 2-point conversion to cut it to 28-25 with 2:40 to play.

Terry Jackson's fumble was recovered by David Macklin for Arizona at the 49ers 20 with 2:16 left in regulation. On third-and-goal from the 4, tight end Freddie Jones was open, but Joselio Hanson knocked away McCown's soft toss over the middle.

A muffed punt, a missed field goal and an interception helped the 49ers to a 21-0 first-half lead.

Arizona lost its fourth in a row.

Asked who was to blame for the team's slow start, coach Dennis Green said, "I'm at fault. I'm the head coach, so I'm at fault."

Andy Lee's punt skidded off the leg of Karl Williams and the 49ers recovered at the Arizona 11.

The 49ers initially settled for a field goal, but Darnell Dockett was called for a penalty for leaping on a teammate to try to block it, and Dorsey's 5-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Lloyd made it 7-0.

Arizona drove inside the 49ers 20 on its next possession, but Rackers missed a 34-yard field goal. San Francisco took over and went 75 yards in 11 plays, Dorsey hitting Wilson just inside the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown.

McCown overthrew Larry Fitzgerald and Tony Parrish returned the interception 25 yards to the Arizona 44. Dorsey's 40-yard pass to Aaron Walker set up Hicks' 1-yard touchdown run to make it 21-0.

Dorsey's 27-yard pass to Wilson on third down gave San Francisco its biggest lead, 28-3, with 9:57 left in the third quarter.

"Some of the mistakes that we made, in my opinion, are elementary mistakes," Smith said. "Sometimes you have to overcome coaching. Sometimes you just have to do that, and that's called making a play and being a football player.

Game notes


Arizona offensive tackle L.J. Shelton left the game with ligament damage in his left knee. An MRI was scheduled Monday. ... Ex-Miami coach Dave Wannstedt was the TV analyst for the game. ... Lee's 53-yard punt in overtime gave the 49ers field position on their winning drive.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

SECOND QUARTERSFARI
sfTD8:24Maurice Hicks, 1 yd run
Drive info: 6 plays, 44 yds, 3:00
200
FOURTH QUARTERSFARI
ariFG1:03Neil Rackers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 5 plays, 16 yds, 1:13
2828
OVERTIMESFARI
sfFG8:42Todd Peterson 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 6 plays, 36 yds, 2:18
3128
FIRST QUARTERSFARI
sfTD9:52Touchdown
Drive info: 6 plays, 11 yds, 2:03
60
SECOND QUARTERSFARI
sf8:19
Drive info: 6 plays, 44 yds, 3:00
210
FOURTH QUARTERSFARI
ariTD2:50Emmitt Smith, 8 yd run
Drive info: 6 plays, 56 yds, 1:50
2823
FIRST QUARTERSFARI
sf9:48
Drive info: 6 plays, 11 yds, 2:03
2825
THIRD QUARTERSFARI
sfTD10:05Touchdown
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 4:50
273
ariTD2:05Obafemi Ayanbadejo, 4 yd run
Drive info: 9 plays, 87 yds, 3:58
289
FOURTH QUARTERSFARI
ariTD12:05Obafemi Ayanbadejo, 1 yd run
Drive info: 8 plays, 53 yds, 3:56
2816
THIRD QUARTERSFARI
sf9:57
Drive info: 9 plays, 69 yds, 4:50
283
ari1:59
Drive info: 9 plays, 87 yds, 3:58
2810
FOURTH QUARTERSFARI
ari11:53
Drive info: 8 plays, 53 yds, 3:56
2817
SECOND QUARTERSFARI
ariFG3:40Neil Rackers 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 54 yds, 4:33
213
sfTD13:45Touchdown
Drive info: 11 plays, 83 yds, 6:05
130
sf13:36
Drive info: 11 plays, 83 yds, 6:05
140