Final/OT

49ers 25

(7-2, 3-1 away)

Panthers 22

(1-9, 0-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 18, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 OT T
SF 0 7 7 8 325
CAR 7 3 3 9 022

Niners improve to 3-1 in OT this season

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- It might be a stretch, but all these Jeff Garcia-led comebacks are earning the San Francisco quarterback comparisons to Joe Montana.

Terrell Owens

San Francisco receiver Terrell Owens catches a touchdown pass to send the game into OT.

Garcia threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens and made a 2-point conversion with 1 second left in regulation. Then he helped set up Jose Cortez's 26-yard field goal that lifted San Francisco to a 25-22 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.

The rally drew postgame comparisons to Montana, the Hall of Fame quarterback known for his numerous late-game heroics and four Super Bowl titles.

"It's obviously a compliment anytime you're mentioned in the same sentence with Joe Montana. I idolized the guy and saw him do so many great things for the 49ers," said Garcia. "As far as coming back and winning games late, it was something that he was known for, and to be mentioned among that is a great honor."

It was the fourth time this season Garcia rallied San Francisco (7-2) to either win or tie a game in the waning moments of the fourth quarter. The 49ers are 3-1 in overtime in 2001 and are starting to believe Garcia will pull them through every time.

Where would you rank Jeff Garcia in the MVP race?
Garcia has to be right in the thick of the MVP race. Look at what he's done, with the fourth-quarter comebacks and late-game heroics. So he's definitely in the hunt.

His numbers are strong. He's completed 65 percent of his passes and thrown for 20 touchdowns (with nine interceptions). Garcia leads the NFC with a quarterback rating of 95.2, second only to Rich Gannon's NFL-leading 101.0 rating.

ESPN.com's Vinny Cerrato was director of player personnel for the Redskins and 49ers.

"Jeff has really come into his own since stepping in for us," said J.J. Stokes, who caught two touchdown passes. "He's getting better every day and he's one of the tops in the league right now. I really think the sky's the limit for him, and for us with him."

The rally gave the 49ers a season-sweep over the Panthers (1-9), dropping Carolina coach George Seifert to 4-2 against the team he led to two Super Bowl titles. It was Carolina's ninth straight loss.

Seifert said Carolina's confidence is gone.

`I think it's once again shattered in a tough, close game," Seifert said. "They played very hard today and there's no words to describe the feeling."

For a moment, it looked like Seifert still had San Francisco's number.

Carolina was clinging to a 19-14 lead and looking for a stop when former 49er Brenston Buckner stepped in front of Garcia's pass at the 42-yard line for his first interception of the season.

He returned it to the 14, setting up John Kasay's third field goal, a 28-yarder with 1:52 left for a 22-14 lead.

Garcia then began the comeback, marching the 49ers 66 yards on 11 plays, converting a fourth-and-4 at the Carolina 46.

From the 7, Garcia hit Owens on a fade in the right corner of the end zone to make it 22-20. With one tick left on the clock, he tossed a pass to rookie tight end Eric Johnson, who was one step inside the end zone, sending the game into overtime.

"Jeff is so calm in those situations, he never panics and knows we're all going to help him make the plays," Owens said.

The 49ers won the toss in overtime and Garcia again took them on a 66-yard drive. He completed passes of 8 and 15 yards to Owens to set up Cortez's winning kick.

Garcia finished 34-for-54 for 305 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. He never panicked and barely showed any emotion on the field.

"I'm a very mellow person as is, and I learned over my years that getting too excited on the field was physically draining," Garcia said. "My controlling that, I've learned that when it comes down to the end of the game I still have something left."

Chris Weinke, who missed last week's game and was slowed most of this week with a sore throwing shoulder, returned and helped the Panthers capitalize early. Fred Beasley fumbled on San Francisco's first possession and Weinke turned the turnover into a 13-yard touchdown pass to Richard Huntley.

Carolina held a 13-7 lead until Garcia finally got San Francisco's offense moving late in the third quarter. A 79-yard drive ended on a 9-yard TD pass to Stokes.

Garcia was moving the Niners again at the start of the fourth period when he made his first mistake. Carolina's Doug Evans dived for a low pass and got his league-leading eighth interception of the season at the 46-yard line.

Carolina used the turnover to retake the lead, 19-14. Weinke threw his second touchdown, a 24-yard pass to Wesley Walls. But the 2-point conversion pass failed.

Game notes
San Francisco defensive tackle Bryant Young dislocated his finger in the first quarter, but continued to play. ... Carolina receiver Muhsin Muhammad did not play in the second half because of a shoulder sprain. ... Weinke's first-quarter TD pass to Huntley was his first since Oct. 21 and Huntley's first score this season. ... The two-game series has been swept every year since 1997.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Scoring Summary

FOURTH QUARTERSFCAR
carTD13:15Touchdown
Drive info: 5 plays, 46 yds, 1:47
1419
THIRD QUARTERSFCAR
carFG10:30John Kasay 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 18 yds, 0:51
713
FOURTH QUARTERSFCAR
carFG1:56John Kasay 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 4 yds, 1:44
1422
THIRD QUARTERSFCAR
sfTD7:00Touchdown
Drive info: 8 plays, 79 yds, 2:36
1313
FIRST QUARTERSFCAR
carTD8:19Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 2:13
06
THIRD QUARTERSFCAR
sf6:53
Drive info: 8 plays, 79 yds, 2:36
1413
FIRST QUARTERSFCAR
car8:12
Drive info: 7 plays, 63 yds, 2:13
07
OVERTIMESFCAR
sfFG10:26Jose Cortez 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yds, 5:04
2522
SECOND QUARTERSFCAR
sfTD10:05Touchdown67
carFG5:40John Kasay 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 61 yds, 4:09
710
sf9:5777
FOURTH QUARTERSFCAR
sfTD0:06Touchdown(Jeff Garcia pass to Eric Johnson for 2pt conversion)
Drive info: 11 plays, 66 yds, 1:44
2222