NFL News of January 11, 2003

Frank Reich, of all people, should have known better. But Reich, the former Buffalo Bills quarterback who directed the greatest comeback in NFL postseason history, turned off his television at halftime of the 49ers-Giants game Sunday.

“The first half, (Giants quarterback) Kerry Collins was unconscious, unstoppable,” said Reich, who led the Bills back from a 32-point, second-half deficit against the Houston Oilers in 1993. “So I figured, `No need to watch the second half.’ ”

Joe Montana wasn’t watching, either.

What Reich and Montana missed was 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia etching his name alongside theirs in NFL history. The 49ers rallied from a 24-point deficit with 4:27 left in the third quarter to beat the Giants 39-38 and advance to Sunday’s divisional round against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“It was one for the ages,” said Bucs defensive end Simeon Rice, who was watching on television and admittedly rooting for pocket-passer Collins. “Jeff Garcia was everywhere, making plays with his arm and his legs. He kept that team alive. That’s every bit what legends are made of.”

— Charean Williams, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram “Quarterback Garcia surviving with heart in San Francisco.”

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