San Francisco 49ers lash Dallas Cowboys 41-24

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IRVING, Texas - The artistry of previous meetings between the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys was missing. The bitterness wasn't.

This meeting was ugly and emotional. These teams were playing more for pride, far removed from the NFC titles they played each other for six times in the past.

San Francisco defeated the Cowboys 41-24 Sunday, and receiver Terrell Owens rubbed it in by going to midfield after both of his touchdown catches to celebrate on the Cowboys' star logo.

Emmitt Smith responded to Owens' first outburst with his own midfield celebration after a 1-yard TD just before halftime that closed the Cowboys to 17-10.

When Owens caught a 1-yard TD pass with 4:05 left to make it 41-17, he again took off toward midfield. This time, Dallas safety George Teague followed Owens and leveled him as he went to kneel on the logo.

Teague was ejected.

''You don't disrespect someone in front of their home crowd, but I guess that's his style,'' Smith said of Owens. ''This game is played with a lot of emotion, and it shows when you are both winning and losing.

''Teague did not make a good decision by going after Owens, but he did what he had to do, and I liked it.''

San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci and Cowboys coach Dave Campo both apologized to each other when they met at midfield after the game. Both refused to elaborate what was said then, or to their players after the game.

''I went to the star the first time because it was the right part of the game and I wanted to get a spark going in my team,'' Owens said. ''It was a spur of the moment thing. I guess I should have picked my time better (on the second one). I wanted to get back at Emmitt.''

Just minutes before Teague was thrown out of the game, Dallas cornerback Darren Woodson was also ejected. Woodson, upset that referees didn't call a penalty when 49ers center Jeremy Newberry stepped on his chest after the whistle blew, kicked the ball and then threw his helmet.

San Francisco and Dallas, two teams that played each other in six NFC championship games and have combined to play in 13 Super Bowls, are both 1-3 this season.

''We are nowhere where we should be, but it gives us a boost,'' Mariucci said.

As for as the play on the field, Jerry Rice's two touchdown receptions provided the only resemblance to the memorable games of the past.

Not even Troy Aikman or Smith, who like Rice are veterans of the three straight NFC championship games between the teams in the mid-1990s that preceded Super Bowl titles, could turn around Dallas' fortunes.

Aikman returned as the Dallas starter after missing two games because of his ninth concussion. He was 14-of-25 passing for 197 yards with a touchdown, an interception and a fumble.

Smith had just 31 yards rushing on 11 attempts as the Cowboys were beaten badly at home for the second time. The Cowboys lost their home opener to Philadelphia 41-14.

Jeff Garcia was 16-for-26 passing for 178 yards and four touchdowns, his third straight multi-TD game, and Charlie Garner ran for a San Francisco record 201 yards, matching what Philadelphia's Duce Staley did against the Cowboys just three weeks earlier.

The 49ers scored on their first three possessions of the second half, putting the game out of reach with a 17-play, 98-yard drive that took more than 9 minutes. Rice's 5-yard TD catch in the opening minute of the fourth quarter made it 34-10.

Wade Richey's 38-yard field goal late in the first quarter gave San Francisco a 3-0 lead. The Cowboys responded on their next drive with Tim Seder's 40-yard field goal - four plays after linebacker Dexter Coakley ran 26 yards on a direct snap out of punt formation.

Tight end Jackie Harris caught two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter for Dallas, an 11-yarder from Aikman that made it 34-17, and then a 16-yarder from third-string quarterback Clint Stoerner with 3:28 left.

Garner and Smith had their TD runs after pass interference calls in the end zone.

Garner's TD broke the 3-3 tie and put the 49ers ahead to stay with 7:02 left in the first half. That came two plays after Ryan McNeil grabbed Owens in the end zone for a 32-yard penalty.

Smith's TD run came after a 34-yard pass interference penalty against San Francisco's Monty Montgomery.


Seder has made all six of his field-goal attempts for the Cowboys. Chris Boniol has the team record for a Dallas newcomer when he made his first nine field goals in 1994. ... Harris has four TDs, tying his career high for a season. ... Rice has receptions in 213 consecutive games, and his two TDs increased in NFL career high to 182.


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