Bono Does It Again, Leading 49ers, 24-22 : Interconference: Backup quarterback throws game-winning touchdown pass to Taylor with 1:08 left.
Quarterback Steve Bono is doing his best to get the San Francisco 49ers into the NFL playoffs for a ninth consecutive season.
He’s doing it dramatically, too. Bono threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to John Taylor with 1:08 left Sunday to give the 49ers a 24-22 victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
“Oh, man, that’s about as exciting as they get and we’ve had a lot of exciting games since I’ve been here,” 49er Coach George Seifert said. “I saw a lot of effort. We didn’t quit.”
The 49ers (8-6) are trying to tie Dallas’ NFL record for consecutive playoff appearances. They’re one game behind four teams tied for the last two NFC playoff spots with two weeks to play.
San Francisco won its fourth in a row with Bono as their starting quarterback. Bono completed 25 of 44 passes for 280 yards and three touchdowns. He had two passes intercepted and lost a fumble.
The Seahawks (6-8) lost their second consecutive game and fourth in five weeks, all but eliminating themselves from the playoffs for the third year in a row.
Bono’s third touchdown pass ended a four-play, 56-yard drive that took just 29 seconds after a 21-yard punt by Rick Tuten to the San Francisco 44. The touchdown was set up by a 41-yard Bono-to-Taylor pass to the Seattle 15.
Bono said Taylor was not his primary receiver on the touchdown play. He intended to go to Jerry Rice first and tight end Brent Jones second.
“Jerry had double coverage,” the former UCLA quarterback said. “I looked for Brent and he wasn’t available. John was there and I threw it high for him.”
Bono is starting because Joe Montana has been out all season because of an ailing elbow and Steve Young has been out because of a knee injury. Young was Bono’s backup on Sunday.
Bono is expected to remain San Francisco’s starter while he’s hot.
“I think Bono has done an outstanding job,” Seifert said. “I don’t know if Young’s 100% yet.”
The Seahawks lost their final chance when quarterback Dave Krieg lost a fumble for the 107th time in his career, an NFL record, with 43 seconds to go at the San Francisco 49. Krieg was tied with Dan Fouts, who lost 106 fumbles.
Krieg’s fumble came after a hit from behind by Tim Harris, who came to the 49ers in a trade from Green Bay for two draft picks earlier this season.
Harris hasn’t been satisfied with his play since joining San Francisco. “This is one big play I’ve made,” he said. “But I still have a long way to go before I’m playing up to par.”
Joe Cain intercepted Bono’s pass at the Seattle 12-yard line with less than four minutes to go, and that appeared to preserve Seattle’s 22-17 lead.
The 49ers got the ball back on a punt, but a pass by Bono was picked off by Eugene Robinson at the Seattle 30 with 2:02 to go. However, San Francisco got the ball back again after Tuten’s 21-yard punt with 1:37 to go.
San Francisco won despite turning the ball over five times, three on fumbles.
Seattle took a 19-17 lead in the fourth quarter on Kasay’s second field goal, a 25-yarder. It came after David Daniels recovered a fumble by kick returner Dexter Carter on the San Francisco 27.
The Seahawks also scored on a five-yard run by John L. Williams late in the third quarter after Cortez Kennedy sacked Bono, who fumbled. Tony Woods recovered at the 49ers’ four.
The 49ers used a fumble recovery at the start of the second half to take a 17-9 lead. James Jones fumbled and Bill Romanowski recovered at the Seattle 23. The 49ers scored on a nine-yard pass playfrom Bono to Rice.
It was the 89th touchdown reception of Rice’s career, leaving him third on the NFL’s all-time list behind Steve Largent’s 100 and Don Hutson’s 99.
The 49ers led, 10-9, at halftime because the Seahawks failed to kick an extra point after their first-quarter touchdown. San Francisco went ahead, 7-6, in the second quarter on Bono’s three-yard pass that Harry Sydney caught on his knees in the end zone.
Seattle went ahead, 9-7, on Kasay’s 37-yard field goal after Jones recovered punt returner Kevin Lewis’ fumble at the 49ers’ 29.
But Cofer kicked a 50-yard field goal for a 10-9 lead with 1:02 left in the half.