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YOUNG NEAR PERFECT AS 49ERS WHIP RAMS

Deion Sanders is a most grateful man.

He appreciates the fact that a trio of San Francisco defensive players renegotiated their contracts so that the 49ers could sign him under the salary cap."My hat's off to them. I've invited them to dinner, told them they can come live with me and everything," Sanders said of 49ers' linebackers Ken Norton and Gary Plummer and safety Tim McDonald, who altered their contracts so the team could pay Sanders $1.1 million.

And, after watching San Francisco roll over the Los Angeles Rams 34-19 Sunday, Sanders is simply thankful to be a 49er.

The Pro Bowl cornerback, who plays for the Cincinnati Reds and became available for football sooner than usual when the baseball season was canceled, signed as a free agent with San Francisco last Thursday and made his 49ers' debut in a limited role Sunday.

When San Francisco had the ball, he watched from the sidelines as Steve Young threw for 355 yards, Jerry Rice made 11 catches for 147 yards, and John Taylor caught seven passes for 103 yards.

Young threw for two touchdowns and ran for two on quarterback sneaks, and Rice and Taylor each caught short scoring passes.

"It's really a thrill. It's very different being on the 49ers," said Sanders, who played with the Atlanta Falcons for the past five years. "The 49ers are incredible.

"I picked the San Francisco 49ers because I felt like they presented me with the best opportunity to fulfill my dream, and that's to win a Super Bowl."

Sanders' only notable play in his first football game in more than nine months was a pass interference call against him.

Young, the NFL's passing leader for each of the past three years, played brilliantly. Accurate with almost every pass, he completed 31 of 39 attempts without being intercepted. Included in the incompletions were a couple of drops, one botched route by a receiver, an intentional grounding to stop the clock, and one pass flicked away from Rice by a defender at the last second.

"Steve had an exceptional day," Rice said. "He knew exactly what he wanted to do and he just did it."

Browns 32, Cardinals 0

The Browns (2-1) got their first shutout at Cleveland Stadium since 1983, stopping the Cardinals on the 2 with one second left.

Vinny Testaverde, stung by six interceptions in his previous two games, ran for one touchdown and passed for two more, including an 81-yarder by rookie Derrick Alexander.

"Right now, we're just not a very good football team," said Cardinals linebacker Seth Joyner, who also played for Ryan in Philadelphia. "If anybody tries to blow smoke and say that we are, we aren't. Right now, we're a bad team."

A team that couldn't move the ball with Jim McMahon replacing Steve Beuerlein at quarterback.

"We had some opportunities early in the game, and I stunk it up," McMahon said. "I don't think we need to start over. It's gut check time. We're 0-3. We're not out of it."

Bills 15, Oilers 7

At Houston, Steve Christie kicked five field goals and Bruce Smith had four sacks for Buffalo (2-1). Houston is 0-3 for the first time in 10 seasons.

Chiefs 30, Falcons 10

Joe Montana got his seventh victory in a row in Atlanta, the other six coming with the San Francisco 49ers. It lifted his career record in starts against the Falcons to 14-5, including 12 of his last 13.

Montana completed 28 of 39 passes, with tosses of 13 and 34 yards to J.J. Birden. The Chiefs are 3-0 for the first time since 1966, when they ended up in the first Super Bowl, losing to Green Bay.

Giants 31, Redskins 23

The host Giants rode the versatility of Dave Meggett, replacing injured Rodney Hampton in the backfield. Meggett had two short scoring runs and a 16-yard TD pass, his third in as many career tries - all against the Redskins (1-2).

John Friesz hit 32 of 50 for a career-high 381 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Steelers 31, Colts 21

At Pittsburgh, with the Steelers decked out in garish uniforms representing the 1933 Pittsburgh Pirates football team, Pittsburgh outgained Indianapolis (1-2) 500-179, led by the ground game.

Barry Foster ran for 179 yards, upstaging Colts rookie Marshall Faulk, who was held to just 61. Bam Morris, Foster's rookie backup, had one TD and set up another score, helping the Steelers overcome a 14-0 Indianapolis lead.

Ronald Humphrey went 95 yards with the opening kickoff and Quentin Coryatt had a 78-yard fumble return for the Colts' early points.

Vikings 42, Bears 14

At Chicago, Warren Moon finally hit stride, completing 22 of 29 passes for 236 yards, and getting plenty of help from Terry Allen and Cris Carter. Moon sparked an attack that had just one touchdown before meeting the Bears (1-2).

Allen, who had two touchdown runs, gained 159 yards on 22 carries for Minnesota (2-1). Carter had eight of his nine catches for 79 of his 86 yards in the first half. Jake Reed caught seven for 90 yards.

Patriots 31, Bengals 28

At Cincinnati, the Bengals fell to 0-3 as New England (1-2) kept up its offensive onslaught.

Drew Bledsoe had a club-record fourth straight 300-yard game, going 30-for-50 for 365 yards. Michael Timpson had 10 receptions for 125 yards and Ben Coates added 108 on eight.

Saints 9, Buccaneers 7

At Tampa, the Saints defense made a turnaround after two weak efforts, allowing just one touchdown. In its first two losses, New Orleans (1-2) yielded 68 points.

All of the Saints' scoring came on field goals by Morten Andersen, from 43 yards twice and from 31.

The Buccaneers (1-2) missed a 54-yard field goal as time expired.