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Niners to host wild-card game

Hearst hurt in 38-19 win over Rams; status uncertain

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Posted: Wednesday December 30, 1998 01:00 PM

  San Francisco treat: Jerry Rice had 4 receptions for 49 yards, including a 4-yard TD grab AP

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The San Francisco 49ers are getting the Green Bay Packers where they want them.

By beating St. Louis 38-19 Sunday for their 17th straight regular season home victory, the 49ers (12-4) earned the right to host the Packers (11-5) in Sunday's wild-card playoff game rather than having to travel to Lambeau Field.

Rookie R.W. McQuarters returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown and Steve Young passed for two TDs and ran for another in San Francisco's 17th straight victory over the Rams (4-12). It's the second-longest win streak against an opponent in NFL history, trailing Washington's 18-game run over Detroit.

Wade Richey added field goals of 44, 27 and 20 yards for the 49ers, who haven't lost to the Rams since 1990, when they were still based in Anaheim.

But the 49ers didn't escape the regular season closer unscathed. Garrison Hearst, who last week set a single-season team rushing record for San Francisco, strained his right hamstring in the second quarter and didn't return.

His status wasn't immediately known for the postseason game against the Packers, who have won five straight against San Francisco and knocked the 49ers out of the playoffs the past three years.

Steve Bono, who formerly backed up Young and Joe Montana in San Francisco, started his second straight for the Rams after a season-ending knee injury to Tony Banks.
Rookie R.W. McQuarters returned a punt 72 yards for a touchdown AP 

Bono capped the Rams' opening possession with a 5-yard scoring pass to Ricky Proehl. He added fourth-quarter TD passes of 25 yards to Amp Lee and 17 yards to Proehl, but it wasn't enough for the Rams, who finished 0-8 this season against fellow NFC West teams.

Richey's second field goal put San Francisco in front 13-7 and started a run of 18 straight points for the 49ers.

McQuarters, who had two returns for touchdowns called back by penalties earlier this season, had a clean trip this time. With his blockers clearing the way, McQuarters sprinted untouched down the right sideline.

Young, who set a club record with 36 touchdown passes on the season, punctuated San Francisco's third-quarter outburst with a 16-yard scramble for a score, putting the 49ers up 28-7.

St. Louis got a second touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Bono's pass into the end zone went through safety Merton Hanks' hands, deflected off Lee and popped into the air before Lee finally grabbed it for the score with 13:42 remaining.

After Richey kicked his third field goal, Bono and Proehl teamed for their second touchdown. Young offset that with his second scoring pass of the day, a 24-yarder to Terrell Owens with 3:38 left.

San Francisco led 10-7 at the half, getting a 20-yard field goal from Richey and a 4-yard scoring pass from Young to Jerry Rice after St. Louis went down the field on its first possession. Bono finished off the march with a short touchdown pass to Proehl.

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