Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Oilers Make Their Mark with Win over 49ers for 10-Game Streak

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Oilers Make Their Mark with Win over 49ers for 10-Game Streak

Article excerpt

The streak lives.

The Houston Oilers kept it going Saturday by beating the San Francisco 49ers 10-7, winning their 10th consecutive game and matching a 31-year-old club record.

"We're trying to win the Super Bowl," Houston receiver Ernest Givins said. "We won a big one against the 49ers but the biggest game has yet to be played."

Houston won the Christmas Day matchup between division winners by holding down San Francisco's league-leading offense and forcing quarterback Steve Young into two end-zone interceptions and a fumble.

The Oilers, meanwhile, had just enough offense to overcome their own mistakes. Quarterback Warren Moon had three interceptions but also threw a TD pass to Givins to help capitalize on Young's fumble.

"Everybody wonders at some point when we're going to break but every week it's another guy in the locker room who gets us going," said Moon, who gave way to Cody Carlson in the late going after aggravating a rib injury.

"We have seen it all," added Moon, who expects to play in Sunday's regular-season finale against the New York Jets. "We know what to expect. I think we're a mature team. We're a lot closer than we were earlier in the season. We play with so much more emotion, and that's the key. I said at the beginning of the season you can't win on talent alone; you have to play with emotion."

It has been an emotional season for the Oilers, who closed ranks and kept the team together after a 1-4 start and bitter infighting among players and coaches threatened to splinter the club.

The new-found solidarity helped the team weather injuries to key personnel and the shock of reserve defensive lineman Jeff Alm's suicide.

"Because we've gone through everything we've possibly could go through adversity-wise, we just stand up to whatever is in front of us and just hit it in the face," Moon said. "We don't let things bother us anymore."

The defense exuded that attitude against the 49ers, coming up with three turnovers (25 in the past six games). Houston's defense, which reflects defensive coordinator Buddy Ryan's attacking style, has asserted itself even though it has not been at full strength. …

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