Final

49ers 40

(8-2, 4-1 away)

Colts 21

(4-6, 1-4 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, November 25, 2001

 

1 2 3 4 T
SF 3 17 7 1340
IND 7 7 7 021

Manning throws career-high four interceptions

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- The 49ers are back to playing with the kind of efficiency they had in their Super Bowl seasons. The Colts are just back in the pack.

San Francisco turned five turnovers into 23 points, and Garrison Hearst ran for two touchdowns as the 49ers beat Indianapolis 40-21 on Sunday for their fourth straight victory.

Should the 49ers be considered a serious threat to the Rams in the NFC West?
Until the 49ers beat the Rams, they won't be a real threat to the Rams. The 49ers lost in San Francisco and must play in St. Louis on Dec. 9, which will be difficult.

But the Niners are coming on fast. They have lots of young guys who are playing with lots of confidence. Quarterback Jeff Garcia, wide receiver J.J. Stokes, running back Garrison Hearst -- all are playing well. And the young defense is gaining confidence (four picks today). The D will continue to improve.

With two big road wins in the past two weeks, the 49ers are gaining momentum.

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

"A couple of years ago, when we were building this, we didn't know where we would be today," said wide receiver Terrell Owens, who had six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. "It's just a process. It was frustrating at times, but now you can see how far we've come."

Hearst gained 106 yards on just 12 carries -- an 8.8-yard average -- and scored his first rushing TDs since Dec. 1, 1998, against Detroit. He missed the past two seasons after breaking his leg in a playoff game in January 1999.

Jeff Garcia completed 14 of 22 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns for the 49ers (8-2).

The Colts (4-6), on the other hand, made mistake after mistake in letting a 21-20 lead slip away.

"That was a disgraceful performance," Indianapolis coach Jim Mora said. "We threw that game away. We gave them the game. It was pitiful, absolutely pitiful."

His team has lost three straight games and four in a row at home -- and this defeat was of the Colts' own making.

Peyton Manning threw three second-half interceptions, and the 49ers turned each of those gifts into a touchdown. He was 31-of-51 for 370 yards and one touchdown but threw a career-high four interceptions and was pulled in the final two minutes.

Mora struggled for an explanation and didn't want to discuss what the future might hold.

"Playoffs? Don't talk about playoffs," Mora said. "Are you kidding me. Playoffs? I'm just hoping we can win a game, another game."

The Colts' woes began when Manning missed Trevor Insley with a pass, and Zack Bronson ran the interception back 48 yards for a touchdown. It was the fifth time this season Manning had an interception returned for a TD.

Six plays after that, Manning's pass bounced out of Insley's hands and to Rashad Holman for another interception. Two plays later, Garcia connected with Owens on a 35-yard TD pass that made it 33-21 seven seconds into the fourth quarter.

Then Ahmed Plummer intercepted another pass by Manning, and the 49ers got a 43-yard TD run from Hearst to seal the victory.

"We have not been real good on takeaways this year," 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said. "Taking the ball away and giving our offense a short field is a must. Today we accomplished that."

Manning's misfires weren't the Colts' only problems.

Colts rookie safety Jason Doering -- who replaced the injured Idrees Bashir in the starting lineup -- was called for personal fouls twice in the first half. San Francisco scored both times, getting a 30-yard field goal from Jose Cortez and a 5-yard TD pass from Garcia to J.J. Stokes to erase a 7-0 deficit.

After the Colts went up 14-10 on Manning's touchdown pass to Marvin Harrison, Hearst rumbled 28 yards for a go-ahead touchdown with 57 seconds left in the half.

On the Colts next series, Manning threw his first interception. The 49ers converted that into Cortez's 46-yard field goal and a 20-14 halftime lead.

The Colts' regained the lead early in the third quarter when Dominic Rhodes, playing in place of the injured Edgerrin James, ran for a 1-yard TD.

That was about the last play that went Indianapolis' way.

"That's what we strive for," Mariucci said. "We're paid to do a job, to put a plan together to try and win every game. I told our guys at the beginning of the year there were no limitations on the amount of games we can win."

Game notes
Harrison had eight receptions for 128 yards, his 25th 100-yard game. That breaks Raymond Berry's franchise record of 24. ... Mora's third-quarter challenge of a pass originally ruled incomplete marked only the second time he's won a challenge in 17 tries. His .063 percentage was the worst in the NFL entering the game. Indianapolis took the lead by scoring a touchdown on the drive. ... San Francisco RB Kevan Barlow dislocated his left shoulder. His status for next week wasn't immediately known. ... Garcia has at least one TD pass in 14 straight games.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

THIRD QUARTERSFIND
sfTD3:20Touchdown
Drive info: 1 plays, 16 yds, 0:00
2621
sf3:20
Drive info: 1 plays, 16 yds, 0:00
2721
SECOND QUARTERSFIND
sfTD1:06Garrison Hearst, 28 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 41 yds, 0:02
1614
indTD2:00Touchdown
Drive info: 4 plays, 53 yds, 1:45
1013
sf1:06
Drive info: 3 plays, 41 yds, 0:02
1714
FOURTH QUARTERSFIND
sfTD6:21Garrison Hearst, 43 yd run
Drive info: 3 plays, 56 yds, 0:37
3921
SECOND QUARTERSFIND
sfTD13:20Touchdown
Drive info: 4 plays, 78 yds, 2:05
97
ind2:00
Drive info: 4 plays, 53 yds, 1:45
1014
FOURTH QUARTERSFIND
sfTD15:00Touchdown
Drive info: 2 plays, 30 yds, 10:24
3321
sf6:21
Drive info: 3 plays, 56 yds, 0:37
4021
SECOND QUARTERSFIND
sf13:20
Drive info: 4 plays, 78 yds, 2:05
107
THIRD QUARTERSFIND
indTD11:03Dominic Rhodes, 1 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 44 yds, 1:44
2020
SECOND QUARTERSFIND
sfFG0:03Jose Cortez 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 4 plays, 19 yds, 0:20
2014
THIRD QUARTERSFIND
ind11:03
Drive info: 5 plays, 44 yds, 1:44
2021
FIRST QUARTERSFIND
sfFG3:28Jose Cortez 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 8 plays, 42 yds, 3:26
37
indTD7:18Dominic Rhodes, 1 yd run
Drive info: 14 plays, 60 yds, 7:31
06
ind7:18
Drive info: 14 plays, 60 yds, 7:31
07