EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Of all teams, the San Francisco 49ers, inventors and purveyors of the West Coast offense, came up with the perfect East Coast running game.
The Niners rushed for 233 yards as efficiency overcame emotion Monday night in San Francisco's 19-17 victory in New York's first home game since the terrorist attacks.
After a moving tribute to the rescue workers at the World Trade Center 10 miles from Giants Stadium, the Jets (1-2) sputtered offensively and were sloppy with their tackling. And the 49ers, the same team that brought the NFL the imaginative passing offense of Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice, ran the ball down their throats.
''A lot of teams key on our passing game, but we found some weak spots and ran the ball,'' said rookie Kevan Barlow, who gained 83 yards on just nine carries. ''We thought we could run on them. I thought when I had those two runs for 40 yards in the second quarter, it really got us going.
''Garrison was great. He always seemed to make the first man miss or break a tackle.''
That's not hard when the other team isn't wrapping up or getting in position to make any stops. Hearst went for 95 yards on 20 carries.
''It was a wet night out there, and when you run the ball like that, you keep defenses off balance,'' said Hearst, who like Barlow had a total of 58 yards rushing entering the game.
The 49ers' ground domination ate up the clock and worked perfectly in a stadium well-suited to such tactics. If they can successfully continue such an approach all season, they might find themselves in playoff contention.
And if the Jets are so charitable defensively, they can forget about having a special season.
''Obviously, it was embarrassing to let a team run for over 200 yards on you,'' first-year coach Herman Edwards said. ''It was ugly.''
When Jeff Garcia needed to hit a pass, he was on target, finishing 16-for-20 for 141 yards, including a 6-yard TD throw to Terrell Owens.
Jose Cortez kicked four field goals and the 49ers throttled New York's unimaginative offense in beating the Jets on the road for the fifth straight time.
Before New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Gov. George Pataki, along with New Jersey's acting Gov. Donald DiFrancesco, served as honorary captains, Edwards presented the game ball from last week's win at New England to Giuliani. Edwards had dedicated that victory to the city.
After Monday night's win, 49ers coach Steve Mariucci gave the game ball to Giuliani, Pataki and the New York fire and police departments.
The Jets set about getting another win with an 88-yard drive that lasted 9:22 and featured a superb over-the-shoulder 34-yard reception by Wayne Chrebet. Curtis Martin dived in from the 2, but that was about it for the flat Jets.
New York managed an 84-yard drive in the dying moments, with Martin scoring from the 1 with 50 seconds remaining. But the Niners recovered the onside kick.
The 49ers (2-1) came right back behind Barlow. He had 44 yards on four carries, including gains of 15 and 25, on the tying drive. Garcia hit Owens over the middle for the 6-yard score.
Dana Stubblefield blocked John Hall's 50-yard field goal try, and the 49ers staged an eight-minute march to Cortez's 19-yard field goal for a 10-7 lead. It could have been more, but Mo Lewis stopped Garcia on a rollout at the Jets 1.
Garcia, who completed his first nine passes, guided the 49ers to Cortez's 49-yard field goal as the half ended.
San Francisco handed back those points when Eric Johnson fumbled on the second play of the second half at the 49ers 41. Tom Barndt recovered and Hall made a 24-yarder.
So Cortez made a 35-yarder for a 16-10 lead, capping a drive begun when rookie Vinny Sutherland sped 65 yards with the kickoff.
And Cortez put through a 29-yarder to cap a 97-yard, 17-play drive that ate up 9:47 and clinched matters.
Notes: Before the game, an 80-foot flag was unfurled by members of the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines before Luther Vandross sang a rousing rendition of ''Impossible Dream'' and Heather Hedley performed ''God Bless America.'' The fans, all on their feet, then chanted ''U-S-A! U-S-A!'' ... San Francisco rookie defensive end Andre Carter, their first-round draft pick, played against his father's team and got his first career sack. Rubin Carter is the Jets' defensive line coach ... 49ers RB Garrison Hearst surpassed 5,000 yards rushing for his career with a 3-yard run in the second quarter. He now has 5,092 ... San Francisco center Jeremy Newberry sprained his left ankle. Jets safety Damien Robinson and kick returner Chad Morton also sprained ankles.
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