San Francisco shined in prime time again.
These might not be the 49ers of old, but they were good enough for a 24-10 victory over the young Arizona Cardinals on Monday night.
"We took a step forward," coach Steve Mariucci said. "We beat a playoff team on the road."
"I didn't get touched," Phillips said. "Anybody could have scored that ball."
Young staked San Francisco (2-1) to a 17-0 lead before being knocked out of the game with a mild concussion with 28 seconds left in the first half.
Jake Plummer, the quarterback San Francisco passed up in the 1997 draft, has rallied Arizona to victory 10 times in his 29 games with the Cardinals. But this one fell short.
Young threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jerry Rice before he was knocked out of the game by the blitzing Cardinals, the 85th time the two combined on a scoring pass.
Young thought he could have gone back in the game..
"I was shocked," Young said of the hit he took. "At first, I didn't know what happened. I hear boxers talk about `the flash.' I sat for a second, got my wits, and actually felt pretty good."
But after talking to team doctors, Mariucci decided not to play Young in the second half.
Arizona (1-2) rallied with 10 points in the fourth quarter, but Chad Stanley' 49-yard punt pinned the Cardinals on their own 3-yard line with 9:17 to play. Arizona moved the ball down the field, but Adrian Murrell lost 6 yards, then Plummer was sacked for the fifth time and the Cardinals chose to punt on fourth-and-11 at the San Francisco 40 with just over 2@1/2 minutes to play.
"It was fourth-and-11 and we'd been playing very well defensively," Arizona coach Vince Tobin said. "They had their quarterback in there. We felt if we pinned them back, we'd get the ball back with two minutes or so to go."
But instead, the 49ers got a first down, then Phillips broke three for the biggest play of his troubled brief NFL career.
Phillips, given a chance by the 49ers after a big season in NFL Europe, burst through the line and raced to the end zone for the game-clincher with 1:42 to play to make Mariucci 7-0 on Monday nights. Phillips finished with 102 yards on nine carries.
Young, sacked five times and knocked down 16 more in last week's 28-21 victory over New Orleans, was hit by Aeneas Williams and J.J. McCleskey as he let go of a pass. His head hit the knee of an offensive lineman as he fell to the turf.
Young lay motionless for a moment before he slowly got to his feet and walked off the field.
"He wanted to come back," Rice said of Young, 13-of-23 for 92 yards. "He's a warrior. He'll be there next Sunday."
Jeff Garcia, who led Calgary to the Grey Cup in the Canadian Football League last season, replaced Young, and though he wasn't spectacular, he was good enough until Phillips finished things off.
|San Fran's receiver Jerry Rice proved that he still has the goods.|
Garcia was 5-of-6 for 30 yards.
The Cardinals took the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards in 11 plays in a 5-minute, 15-second drive that ended with Mario Bates leaping over from the 1 to make it 17-7 with 9:45 left in the third quarter.
Murrell gained 50 yards in six carries on the drive. Chris Jacke's 43-yard field goal made it 17-10 with 1:09 left in the third quarter, and the acked house at Sun Devils Stadium went wild.
Plummer was 16-of-31 for 176 yards and two interceptions.
Turnovers ruined what was only the third Monday night game for Arizona since the Cardinals moved from St. Louis in 1988 as the 49ers scored twice in 54 seconds.
"I think it kind of overwhelmed us," said Cardinals' defensive end Simeon Rice, one of many Arizona players appearing in his first Monday night game. "These are virgin grounds for us. We just didn't do what we needed to do in this spectacle of an event."
Rookie David Boston muffed Stanley's punt and Joe Zelenka of the 49ers recovered at the Cardinals' 37 to set up Rice's first touchdown catch of the year.
Two plays later, Plummer threw his eighth interception of the season. The pass, intended for Rob Moore, was knocked away by Darnell Walker into the hands of Lance Schulters, who returned it 18 yards to Arizona's 11.
Charlie Garner, carrying a couple of would-be tacklers with him, scored on the next play to make it 14-0 with 5:41 left in the first quarter.
Moore aggravated a sore hamstring in the first quarter and did not play again.Wade Richey's 33-yard field goal made it 17-0 with 9:01 left in the half.
Arizona threatened late in the second quarter, but with first-and-goal at the 6, Plummer completed a short pass to Frank Sanders, who fumbled at the goal line. Mark McDonald of the 49ers recovered just inside the end zone for a touchback.
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