When Montana was Plummer's age, he was carefully coached in the West Coast system, which still had elements of surprise for its opponents. Plummer, who isn't as well coached, is facing defensive players who have been working against West Coast offenses for up to 18 years.
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The Way Garcia Did It Cheers 49ers
As for Garcia--a free agent from San Jose State who apprenticed in Canada--one good day hardly foretells his football future. Yet, the way he won his first NFL start Sunday impressed the 49ers.
San Francisco had fallen behind in the second quarter, 0-10, when coach Steve Marriucci sent Garcia out passing.
The 49ers scored five times in Garcia's next six series, taking a 14-10 lead at halftime and driving 90 yards to the decisive fourth-quarter touchdown.
Both of Garcia's scoring passes were thrown with the steam and accuracy of a poised veteran.
On a 21-yard play, he rifled one over the middle for a touchdown to running back Charlie Garner and next, on a 22-yard play, he lofted one into the corner to closely guarded wide receiver Terrell Owens.
The 49ers punted only twice in the three quarters with Garcia at the helm, once when a dropped pass stopped a drive, and once when the coaches tried to run the ball in defense of a fourth-quarter lead.
Montana at a comparable point in his 49er career was still backing up Steve DeBerg.
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Coming Up: An Unusual Ram-49er Game
In the biggest Ram-49er game of the 1990s at St. Louis next Sunday, the reborn Rams (3-0) will challenge their old tormentors (3-1) with the finest all-around offensive cast they've had in years, perhaps decades.
The new Ram quarterback, Kurt Warner, a candidate for the club's best since Norm Van Brocklin 50 years ago, completed 17 of 21 passes in Cincinnati Sunday and threw three touchdowns for a record third time in three games.
The veteran go-to Ram receiver, Isaac Bruce, whose only contemporary rivals for excellence might be Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, caught six passes this time for 152 yards.
Rounding out what seems to be one of the league's best three-receiver units, Terry Holt, a candidate for NFL rookie of the year; and Az-Zahir Hakin, the clever second-year Ram from San Diego State; totaled seven catches for 136 yards.
Marshall Faulk, who was thrown to only three times in this game, again gave Warner the running-receiving threat that every modern NFL passer wants.
Ram offensive coordinator Mike Martz, the pride of Sioux Falls, S.D., who was best known as a college player and coach before he learned 1990s pass offenses from Washington Coach Norval Turner in 1997-98, had a third winning plan in three weeks.