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49ers Put Themselves Back in Running, 31-3

<i> From Times Wire Services </i>

The San Francisco 49ers are talking of winning the NFC West title again after Sunday’s 31-3 rout of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The 49ers’ victory, combined with the first-place Rams’ second straight loss, moved San Francisco (6-5) to within three games of the Rams.

“Anything can happen now,” 49er wide receiver Dwight Clark said. “The Rams have helped us by losing once again. They still have to play us and the Raiders. Six-and-five is not a great record, but we have a lot of games left.”

San Francisco Coach Bill Walsh also was talking confidently about the future.

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“Hopefully, this will help make us competitive again,” he said. “The season isn’t over yet. There are still five games left.”

The Chiefs lost their club-record seventh straight game and fell to 3-8.

“I don’t know if concerned is the right word,” Kansas City Coach John Mackovic said. “I don’t know if frustration is the right word. We are a team that has had a lot of things go against it.”

San Francisco quarterback Joe Montana, who has struggled this season, completed 23 of 34 attempts for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter.

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The 49ers struck on their first possession as Ray Wersching kicked a 41-yard field goal. The Chiefs then tied the score, 3-3, on a 46-yard Nick Lowry field goal.

In the closing seconds of the first quarter, Kansas City was forced to punt deep in its own territory, and Dana McLemore took Jim Arnold’s kick at the Kansas City 37 and returned it eight yards.

From there, Montana fired a 12-yard pass to Roger Craig and a 15-yard pass to Russ Francis to get the ball to the five. Craig took it over in three straight plays, finally scoring on a one-yard dive.

The 49ers went ahead, 17-3, on their next drive. Montana hit Clark with passes of 38 and 17 yards to help move the ball to the one. On first-and-goal, Montana sneaked in.

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San Francisco wasted little time increasing its 17-3 halftime advantage. On the 49ers’ first drive of the second half, Montana directed the team 72 yards to a score on a 22-yard pass to Clark.


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