Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Young Gets His Game Up to Speed by Stoking 49ers' Offensive Machine

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Young Gets His Game Up to Speed by Stoking 49ers' Offensive Machine

Article excerpt

Rust? What rust?

San Francisco quarterback Steve Young scraped off the rust from a five-game layoff and found his rhythm in a 41-13 victory over the Rams Sunday at 3Com Park.

With the victory, the 49ers claimed sole possession of first place in the NFC West after Arizona upset Atlanta. San Francisco is 8-4 and, after losses to Carolina and New Orleans, quickly is rounding into its old juggernaut form. To repeat as Super Bowl champs, a healthy Young is vital.

Young got well Sunday.

He threw three touchdown passes against the Rams - two to rookie J.J. Stokes and one to Jerry Rice. Young finished his day with 21 completions in 32 attempts for 226 yards before leaving reluctantly in the fourth quarter.

"When you're in and playing, my feeling is, `Don't take me out over my dead body.' Literally," said Young, who didn't shy away from throwing a block or scrambling when necessary. "I don't ever want to see that. But I'm not the one when makes those decisions. I was having fun playing."

The only visible sign of rust was Young's two interceptions - the first one coming on the 49ers' first play of the day. It was supposed to be a quick out to John Taylor.

"It just lets you know a little humility," Young said. "I thought it was pretty good. I wanted to come out and throw four touchdowns and just kill them."

He settled for three touchdown passes. A good day, by most standards.

"But there were a couple of things," Young said. "I think I need to get back up to speed."

"Steve did a good job," 49ers coach George Seifert said. "Steve will be just that much sharper with each game he plays."

Young hurt his left shoulder on Sept. 10 against Atlanta when he was bounced out bounds by the Falcons' Jessie Tuggle. Then he was banged up against the Colts on Oct. 15.

During the five-game layoff, Young underwent arthroscopic surgery on Nov. 13. While he was away, backup Elvis Grbac led the 49ers to three victories, including wins over Dallas and Miami.

Hard to believe, but some fans actually were wondering if the 49ers were rushing Young back into action.

Why tinker with success?

Because Young, who shook off the shadow of Joe Montana in Super Bowl XXIX last season, is the best quarterback in the league. …

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