SAN FRANCISCO (AP)
The San Francisco 49ers hope Marty Mornhinweg gets his first victory very
soon. They are thrilled it didn't come this week.
Terrell Owens caught two second-half
touchdown passes from Jeff Garcia as the 49ers kept Detroit winless in
Mornhinweg's first season as coach, beating the Lions 21-13 on Sunday.
Mornhinweg, the 49ers' offensive
coordinator in the previous four seasons, got the Lions off to a fast start
in his return to the San Francisco Bay area, where he grew up. 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.
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 that would have given the Lions the ball inside the 5 with 1:20
left. The 49ers (5-2), who blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter last
week in an overtime loss to Chicago, finally took a breath when Charlie
Batch's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.
Owens, whose criticism of Steve Mariucci's
game plan in last week's loss brought a sharp rebuke from his coach, likely
had no complaints this time.
Owens caught a 30-yard TD pass from
Garcia 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.
The wideout, who caught nine passes
for 125 yards, and Mariucci didn't congratulate each other after either
of Owens' big TD catches. Garcia was 26-of-35 for 296 yards and three TDs.
Even more impressive than Owens or
Garcia was the 49ers' defense, the prime culprit in their decline in Mornhinweg's
last two years with the team.
In addition to 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'
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. But Batch and
rookie Mike McMahon, who quarterbacked two series, couldn't get the Lions
rolling until their frantic final drive.
Bailey got his interception when
Garcia's arm was hit at the line of scrimmage, and he ran practically untouched
for a score.
Detroit took a 10-0 lead early in
the second quarter on the first of Jason Hanson's two field goals. Robert
Porcher, who briefly was motionless on the field after a first-quarter
play, stayed in the game and got two sacks as Detroit kept Garcia uncomfortable.
The 49ers finally got rolling in
the final minutes of the first half, with rookie tight end Eric Johnson
catching a 4-yard TD pass 54 seconds before halftime.