Joe Montana passed for 476 yards and six touchdowns--both highs for his career--and Jerry Rice tied an NFL record with five scoring receptions as the San Francisco 49ers outscored the Atlanta Falcons, 45-35, Sunday.
Others were more impressed by their performances than Montana and Rice were,
Montana described his performance as “on and off. At times I played pretty well, but I didn’t feel like I played up to the standard of the Super Bowl. I was up and down.”
Rice wasn’t calling it his best game either, and, as for the record he tied, he said, “I don’t want to think about it. I had a decent game today . . . but I don’t compare games. I don’t think I made two mistakes in the Super Bowl. Today I made four or five.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren said of Rice: “Rating his best games is like trying to say which paintings are the nicest.”
The Montana-Rice show enabled the 49ers (5-0) to extend their league record for consecutive regular season victories on the road to 13.
It also was the 10th consecutive regular-season victory for the 49ers and 13th in a row, including their three playoff victories last year en route to a second consecutive Super Bowl championship.
The Falcons fell to 2-3.
Rice had a club-record 13 catches for 225 yards, with the touchdown receptions covering 24, 25, 19, 13 and 15 yards.
He tied the receiving record set by Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals against Baltimore on Oct. 2, 1950 and tied by Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers against Oakland on Nov. 22, 1981.
Montana, who completed 32 of 49 passes, also threw a 43-yard touchdown pass to Mike Sherrard. The six scoring passes broke the club record of five set by Montana twice previously and also by several others.
In the 49ers’ five games this season, Montana has passed for 1,792 yards and 14 touchdowns, both tops in the NFC.
Atlanta Coach Jerry Glanville had nothing but praise for Montana. “I don’t know of a quarterback that can play any better,” Glanville said. “He gave us a lesson. I can’t wait until that quarterback retires.”
Montana and Rice picked on cornerback Charles Dimry throughout the game.
“He’s a great defensive back, but it is one-on-one coverage and the defensive back doesn’t know where I’m going,” Rice said.
“My confidence level is not shaken,” Dimry said. “I’m just down because I had a bad day. Rice is a total package and great all-around receiver.”
The 49ers’ Mike Cofer also got in on the record-setting binge with a 56-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. The kick broke the San Francisco record of 54 yards shared by Steve Mike-Mayer and Bruce Gossett.
Atlanta’s Chris Miller completed 18 of 31 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns for the Falcons before leaving with an injury to his right knee with 8:38 left in the game. Team physician John Garrett said Miller suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament and added that he’s optimistic Miller will play next week against the Rams.
Miller’s touchdowns covered 75 yards to Andre Rison, five yards to James Milling and three yards to Gary Wilkins.
Scott Campbell came off the bench to lead a 66-yard touchdown drive that ended on his 13-yard pass to Rison with 7:14 left in the game. Campbell completed nine of 16 passes for 98 yards.
Combined, the 49ers and Falcons passed for 865 yards and 10 touchdowns. Rison caught nine passes for 172 yards, a career best, and has 38 receptions for 549 yards and six touchdowns.
Rice has 35 catches for 574 yards and eight touchdowns. Atlanta’s Bobby Butler was credited with a 62-yard blocked-punt return for another touchdown.
Jerry Rice The 49er receiver caught five touchdown passes against the Atlanta Falcons to tie the record shared by Bob Shaw of the Chicago Cardinals (Oct. 2, 1950) and Kellen Winslow of the San Diego Chargers (Nov. 22, 1981). Rice became the leader among active receivers with 74 touchdown catches.
Career Touchdown Catches
Don Hutson: 100
Steve Largent: 100
Don Maynard: 88
Lance Alworth: 85
Paul Warfield: 85
Tommy McDonald: 84
Art Powell: 81
Charley Taylor: 79
Harold Carmichael: 79
Fred Biletnikoff: 76
Harold Jackson: 76
Nat Moore: 74
Jerry Rice: 74