The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners

The Best Seat In The House For All Your News On The 5 Time World Champion Niners
A review and commentary on the history & lastest events surrounding the 17 time NFC Western Division & 5 -Time World Champion San Francisco 49ers. From 1946 and the All America Football Conference to 2009 and the road to a 6th Super Bowl title - For true fans of the scarlet and gold! Enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Testaverde, Panthers end home skid, beat 49ers 31-14


Carolina coach John Fox heard all week that fans may stay away from the Panthers' game against San Francisco, disgusted with the team's five-game losing streak and its seven straight losses at home. There were roughly 17,000 no-shows Sunday, but the ones who did attend saw the Panthers finally end their home hex. They can thank their 44-year-old quarterback and Fox's decision to open the playbook. Testaverde threw two touchdown passes and became the second-oldest QB to start a game, leading the Panthers to a 31-14 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

"There was a lot of talk there would hardly be anybody here this week," Fox said. "I don't know what the count was, but all those people that were here today, I'm real happy for. This has been a long time coming for them, too." Using razzle-dazzle rarely seen under the conservative Fox, the Panthers (5-7) won at home for the first time in 377 days behind Testaverde, who at 44 years, 19 days became the second-oldest starting QB in NFL history. Testaverde also became the oldest starter to win, besting his own record set seven weeks ago in Arizona, Carolina's last victory.

"Any time you get on that kind of streak, it's tough to break," Fox said. "This wasn't just a monkey, it was King Kong." The Panthers' defense stepped up, too, forcing six sacks and six turnovers, including Richard Marshall's 73-yard interception return for a touchdown, spoiling the 49ers' confidence a week after they snapped an eight-game losing streak. "It's obviously very disappointing," said quarterback Trent Dilfer, who threw for 171 yards and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. "We wanted to build on last week. We didn't."Instead, it brought to light quarterback issues for the 49ers (3-9), who are facing uncertainty about the severity of Alex Smith's shoulder injury, which kept him out of a third straight game. "As soon as the medical staff tells me there's a possibility of a change, as far as someone's health, I will take a look into it," coach Mike Nolan said.

It was odd seeing the visiting team dealing with QB issues, not the Panthers, who lost Jake Delhomme to a season-ending elbow injury in Week 3, then watched high-priced backup David Carr get hurt, then be ineffective. Testaverde, who started the season out of the league, has led the Panthers to their last two victories. Testaverde moved into second place on the old-man list, passing Warren Moon, who was 44 years, 8 days old when he started in 2000. Steve DeBerg, at 44 years, 279 days, holds the record for oldest QB from his 1998 start. Testaverde sat out Carolina's 31-6 Carr-led loss New Orleans last week with a sore back. Testaverde was healthy Sunday, Carr was demoted to third-string and the Panthers looked like a new team. While Testaverde threw for only 153 yards and had two interceptions, he directed an offense that took risks and snapped a streak of 12 straight quarters at home without an offensive touchdown. The Panthers ran a reverse, a lateral and even a direct snap to Steve Smith — with Testaverde lining up as a receiver — in building a 17-0 halftime lead.

"We mixed it up," Testaverde said. Showing poise in the pocket missing when Carr ran the offense, Testaverde tossed a 5-yard touchdown pass to rookie Dante Rosario — who was 2 years old when Testaverde entered the league in 1987 — and a 1-yard pass to Jeff King that made it 31-14 early in the fourth quarter. That allowed the Panthers to overcome the two miscues that briefly let the 49ers back in it. Michael Lewis intercepted Testaverde on the first series of the second half, leading to Dilfer's 20-yard touchdown pass to Arnaz Battle. Nate Clements' 41-yard punt return set up Dilfer's 21-yard TD pass to Delanie Walker, cutting Carolina's lead to 17-14. As has been the case for the 49ers all season, the good fortune didn't last. Lewis muffed a punt and Rosario fell on it at the 49ers 11. Four plays later, DeShaun Foster's 1-yard TD run gave Carolina a 10-point cushion. The Panthers, who had a league-low 10 sacks in the first 11 games, came alive against the 49ers' shaky offensive line. Mike Rucker had 1 1/2 sacks and forced a fumble.

Frank Gore was held to 58 yards rushing on 12 carries, a week after he had his first 100-yard game in San Francisco's overtime win over Arizona. The lone bright spot was rookie linebacker Patrick Willis. The NFL's leading tackler had 18 more. "Today was not our best defensive performance by far," Willis said. "We made some critical mistakes out there that really hurt us."
Notes:@ Rosario and Walker each had their first career TDs. ... Panthers S Chris Harris (shoulder) and 49ers S Donald Strickland (knee) left with injuries, but they were not believed to be serious.

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