expense -- twice.
Not only did the All-Pro receiver catch a 37-yard touchdown pass
over the Seattle cornerback to give San Francisco a 28-21 win over
the Seahawks Monday night, but he added an extra flourish by
pulling out a pen and autographing the ball for a mutual friend
sitting in Springs' suite.
Seattle (1-4) led 21-20 and was driving for another score when
Ahmad Plummer intercepted an ill-advised pass by Trent Dilfer at
the San Francisco 32 with 10 minutes left. The 49ers moved to the
Seattle 37, where Jeff Garcia found Owens down the left side, where
he caught the ball over Springs.
Owens then took a pen from his sock and signed the ball.
"I just tried to be creative,'' Owens said. "I was just trying
to have fun. It was a situation where I knew we would be going to
the end zone in the fourth quarter.''
Garcia then hit Garrison Hearst for a 2-point conversion.
"He was talking the most trash, how he was going to do this and
do that,'' said San Francisco running back Kevan Barlow, also a
friend of Springs. "Our big-time player showed him. Terrell's a
The win kept the 49ers (4-1) one game ahead of Arizona in the
NFC West. The 49ers won the division 14 times between 1981 and
The Seahawks, who moved this year from the AFC West to the NFC
West, took little consolation from the loss despite playing well.
"I don't think you can take any satisfaction from losing
whatsoever,'' said Dilfer, who lost for the third time in four
starts this season after 15 straight victories, most of them with
Super Bowl-winning Baltimore two years ago. "In this league you
continue to try to get better.''
Garcia also starred for the 49ers, throwing for 202 yards and
two TDs and running seven times for 48 yards.
San Francisco took a 10-0 lead on Jose Cortez's 37-yard field
goal and Garcia's 8-yard TD pass to Owens, who finished with six
catches for 84 yards.
The field goal came on a 73-yard drive off the opening kickoff.
Then Zack Bronson, who later left the game with a broken foot,
intercepted a pass by Dilfer on Seattle's first possession. The
49ers took six plays to complete the drive when Garcia rolled right
and found Owens all alone on the goal line and he stepped into the
end zone -- no autograph on that one.
Seattle retaliated immediately, going 69 yards in 10 plays to
score on Dilfer's 5-yard touchdown pass to Mack Strong with 1:45
left in the first quarter. Dilfer had two critical third-and-long
completions to Bobby Engram to keep the drive alive.
Then Engram struck again. He took Jason Baker's punt at his 39,
broke a tackle by long snapper Brian Jennings and was free, weaving
his way 61 yards to give Seattle a 14-10 lead with 5:41 left until
Cortez's 29-yard field goal on the next drive made it 14-13 and
that's the way the half ended.
The 49ers' first possession of the second half was their best --
a 12-play, 99-yard drive primarily on the ground capped by Barlow's
6-yard run off left tackle for a 20-14 lead.
"We took the opportunity to let the defense rest and recover,''
Garcia said. "We took it 99 yards. That's huge, That can be a
It wasn't quite then.
Back came Seattle. Shaun Alexander went 42 yards on the first
play from scrimmage, then capped the 76-yard drive with a 1-yard
run with 1:11 left in the third quarter to make it 21-20.
But in the end, it wasn't enough to hold down Owens -- and his
pen. The beneficiary was Greg Eastman, a financial consultant to
Owens, Springs and Barlow -- who said that if he had scored in the
fourth quarter, he would have done the same thing.
But the show was Owens, who two years ago provoked a disturbance
in Dallas by dancing twice on the star at midfield after scoring
against the Cowboys.
"Everybody's always saying I'm being disrespectful,'' he said.
"But I'm just trying to have fun.''
In addition to Bronson's broken foot, the 49ers lost backup
running back Terry Jackson with a sprained knee ligament, and
defensive end John Engelberger with a sprained ankle. ... The game
was the first Monday night home game for the Seahawks since 1992.
... Seattle added safety Kenny Easley to its ring of honor. Easley
was a five-time Pro Bowler who played for the Seahawks from 1981-87
and was NFL defensive player of the year in 1984.
- Bill Leavy