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Niners pay tribute to Herrion, win in OT

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Thomas Herrion still was in the San
Francisco 49ers' hearts, and his number was on the backs of their
helmets when they went back to work.

Joe Nedney kicked three field goals against his former Tennessee
teammates, including the winning 24-yarder with 2:09 left in
overtime, and the 49ers beat the Titans 16-13 Friday night in San
Francisco's first game since Herrion's death.

Maurice Hicks atoned for a fumble late in regulation with 44
total yards on the 49ers' winning 80-yard drive led by No. 1 draft
pick Alex Smith -- but the result meant even less than usual in the
meaningless preseason.

Six days after Herrion collapsed in the locker room and died
following a game in Denver, the Niners returned to the field in a
fairly somber mood, judging by the pregame warmups. Candlestick
Park was subdued before the game, partly because the stadium was
only half-full.

"It was real emotional," said Tim Rattay, who passed for 131
yards. "We really thought about him, and when we kneeled down
after the game, it really hit me again. It meant a lot to get this
win."

The Niners stayed in the locker room while the club presented a
video tribute to Herrion on the scoreboard, followed by a moment of
silence. The team wore black, football-shaped decals bearing
Herrion's No. 72 on the backs of their helmets.

"It was intense," right tackle Kwame Harris said. "We wanted
to make sure that the events of last week were not forgotten, and
that we are playing for Thomas."

The entire offensive line and most of the 49ers' coaches will
attend Herrion's funeral in Fort Worth, Texas, on Saturday.

Adam "Pacman" Jones muffed two punts and struggled at
cornerback in his first NFL action for the Titans, who played
fairly well on both sides of the ball, but missed a chance to win
in regulation.

After Rob Bironas kicked a tying field goal for Tennessee with
1:47 to play, Hicks caught a pass and fumbled while being tackled
by three Titans with 56 seconds left.

Billy Volek, who went 13-of-17 for 140 yards, drove Tennessee
into scoring position. But Jay Taylor, signed two days earlier to
compete with Bironas, barely missed a 41-yard field goal as time
expired.

"The challenge now, without looking at a watch, is that we know
what time it is," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said at 11 p.m. PDT.
"We're going to lose a day of work. This is a team that just
played five quarters, and it's a tired team."

Bironas made a 44-yard field goal in the second quarter, but
Nedney, who was with the Titans from 2001-04, looked strong again
for San Francisco. The Bay Area native missed all but one game of
the last two seasons in Tennessee with leg injuries. He also hit
regulation field goals from 39 and 23 yards.

Kevan Barlow rushed for an early score with the Niners'
first-team offense, which moved slightly better with Rattay in
charge. The veteran reclaimed his starting job earlier in the week
from Smith, who didn't play until the final minutes of the third
quarter against Tennessee.

Smith, who struggled mightily in his first two NFL games, then
fumbled on his first drive while getting dropped by Bo Schobel. The
Titans scored on the next play, Volek hitting Courtney Roby for 45
yards.

Steve McNair went 10-of-16 for 62 yards with an interception
while playing the first half for Tennessee, and Chris Brown rushed
for 72 yards on just 11 attempts.

McNair fumbled the snap early in the Titans' second offensive
series, and Marques Douglas recovered. The Niners quickly drove 37
yards, with Barlow scoring from the 10.

Jones, who ended his contentious holdout on Monday, had an
eventful day as the Titans' punt returner. He brought back a
bouncing punt 17 yards in the second quarter -- but the sixth
overall pick muffed a kick late in the first half, setting up
Nedney's 39-yarder with 14 seconds left.

Jones then muffed the first punt of the third quarter, but
recovered it. The Titans hope he'll play well enough to earn a
belated starting spot at cornerback, but the rookie was turned the
wrong way when Arnaz Battle slipped in front of him for a 20-yard
gain on Jones' first series.

"It was frustrating getting him lined up [to receive punts] in
the wind ... and then he did take his eye off the one he dropped
[in the second quarter]," Fisher said. "He'll learn from his
mistakes."

Game notes
Tennessee S Tank Williams and WR Tyrone Calico both played
for the first time since knee surgery last year. ... The 49ers used
fourth QB Cody Pickett as a special-teams blocker on kick returns.
"I want to keep all the good football players we have," coach
Mike Nolan said. "I'm trying to look for a way to keep him any way
I can."