Bucs coach Sam Wyche said he wanted his team to be more physical, but he should've been careful what he wished for. Tampa Bay was penalized nine times for 111 yards.
The Bucs were hit with three unsportsmanlike penalties, including one on linebacker Hardy Nickerson and another on Wyche that enabled the 49ers to kick off from the Tampa Bay 40-yard line. San Francisco went for the onside kick, which failed to produce a turnover but forced the Bucs to start at their own 4.
Tight end Tyji Armstrong and 49ers linebacker Gary Plummer were ejected for their brawl at midfield after a busted play that resulted in Eric Davis intercepting a pass from Trent Dilfer.
"It's part of the game, being physical," said Armstrong. "How else do you get your money's worth if you're a fan? I tackled the hell out of (Davis) and Plummer got upset. If it was the other way around, I would have gone after him. I wasn't going to cheap shot (Davis), but I was going to hit him. I don't worry about what anyone else thinks or cares. I don't care if I get fined."
Call him rusty
Bucs receiver Lawrence Dawsey made his first appearance in more than a year after recovering from knee surgery. It showed.
Dawsey dropped three passes, including a 20-yarder that would've given the Bucs a first down at the 49ers 30-yard line and a field-goal attempt as the first half ended.
But Dawsey recovered in the second half and outran a pass from Craig Erickson for a 34-yard TD. He finished with four catches for 65 yards.
"Without knocking him, I know he wanted to have a better first three quarters," Erickson said of Dawsey. "He had some opportunities and those are plays he makes routinely. Nobody was happier than me to see him make the touchdown catch on a ball that I overthrew but he accelerated with that reconstructed knee to make a nice catch."
The Bucs may have found a new quarterback after all. Punter Dan Stryzinski completed his only pass of the season _ a 21-yarder to safety Marty Carter _ on a fake punt that kept a drive alive in the fourth quarter.
If they could have run more . . .
Goodness gracious, too bad the Bucs couldn't find themselves in a position to run the ball more. Tampa Bay's backs gained 110 yards on 25 carries _ a 4.4 average.
And a few of his friends
Dilfer knew he would face a hostile crowd at Candlestick Park, so he recruited reinforcements. Dilfer, who played college ball 200 miles south at Fresno State, purchased 109 tickets.
Dilfer was one of several changes in the Bucs' lineup. Left guard Scott Dill moved to right tackle, replacing Tim Irwin, who was inactive due to an elbow infection. Charles McRae started in Dill's spot at left guard. Irwin's streak of 187 straight games started _ longest by an active NFL player _ came to an end.
QB Casey Weldon, DB Rogerick Green, KR Vernon Turner, FB Rudy Harris, C Jim Pyne, T Irwin, TE Harold Bishop, DE Keith Powe.
S Thomas Everett (shoulder), LB Jeff Brady (bicep) were injured in the third quarter and did not return.
_ RICK STROUD
QB Nightmare rookie debut for Dilfer (7-for-23, 45 yards, F
RB Bucs backs made most of their few chances, averaging C
4.4 yards per carry
WR Too many drops, including three by Lawrence Dawsey D
in his first appearance since knee surgery.
OL QBs pressured but sacked only once. C
DL 49ers running back Ricky Watters rushed 14 times for D
103 yards and two TDs.
LB Hardy Nickerson showed he's not 100 percent with bum D
DB Nine 49er receivers combined for 283 yards. F
SPEC. Bucs gave Dilfer good field position in first C
COACH Bucs alone in last place before midseason. F