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HE’S YOUNG AGAIN - AND NINERS WIN

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When Steve Young hobbled into the end zone on a 15-yard bootleg with 68 seconds remaining, it completed the San Francisco 49ers' dramatic rally and saved them from an embarrassing loss.

But with Young bothered by a groin strain that probably won't have the chance to heal this season, and backup Elvis Grbac awaiting the results of today's tests on his injured left shoulder, there may be much more drama ahead for the 49ers.Young, limping noticeably, led the 49ers to two touchdowns in the final 2:08 as San Francisco (5-2) overcame five turnovers and a three-touchdown deficit to win 28-21 Sunday over the Bengals (1-6).

Young, who had missed the previous three games, was in at quarterback only because Grbac was knocked out in the second period with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder.

"It was a tremendously courageous effort," said 49ers coach George Seifert. "You could not ask for a more gutsy performance than what he did out there, especially when you know what Steve's been going through."

Seifert, who fired up his team at halftime with a chair-throwing tirade, got his 100th career win faster than any other coach in NFL history. Seifert did it in his 132nd game. Vince Lombardi needed 136.

Cincinnati took a 21-0 lead, scoring its first two touchdowns after San Francisco turnovers. Jeff Blake had TD passes of 5 yards to Tony McGee, 15 yards to Garrison Hearst and 50 yards to Darnay Scott.

Meanwhile, Young was getting pummeled. He started the game, but was sacked three times and intercepted once while the Bengals took their big lead. He was removed in the second quarter after being run down and sacked by linebacker Steve Tovar.

"He might have been limping when I chased him, but I'd hate to see him at full speed," Tovar said.

Grbac came in and immediately led San Francisco 60 yards, capping the drive with a 17-yard scoring pass to tight end Ted Popson. But Grbac was hurt just before halftime when he was tackled while scrambling.

With Grbac unable to leave the locker room, Young was forced back into the game. He opened the second half by completing four straight passes while leading the 49ers on a 75-yard drive that culminated in a 39-yard scoring pass to Popson.

Cincinnati managed just five first downs the entire second half. Even though Young threw two more interceptions, the 49ers had repeated chances to come back.

Finally, they did.

Terrell Owens, a rookie starting in place of the injured J.J. Stokes, made a fingertip grab for a 45-yard scoring catch to tie the game with 2:08 left. Dedrick Dodge intercepted Blake at the Bengals' 32-yard line on the ensuing series, and Young rolled untouched into the end zone four plays later.

"Whether Steve limps or not, he's still one of the fastest quarterbacks in the league," said 49ers center Jesse Sapolu. "It was nice to have him come back and redeem himself."

"It was a great, fun, memorable moment," added Young, who jumped into the arms of Jerry Rice - whose seven receptions gave him 50 this year, the first player in NFL history with 11 seasons of 50 or more catches.

Young finished 19-of-30 for 274 yards. He also ran 10 times for 45 yards, the only San Francisco player to rush for more than 20 yards. Grbac was 8-of-12 for 87 yards. Blake was 15-of-34 for 200 yards.

The 49ers' hopes of being a championship team again are severely threatened by their quarterback woes. X-rays on Grbac's shoulder were negative, but an MRI was set for today.

For Young, there's little he can do for the groin strain except take a cortisone shot every three weeks and hope he can play through the pain.

"Steve Young's a great quarterback and a super guy. He loved this," Seifert said. "This is what professional players love, these situations. We saw (Joe) Montana doing it years ago, and now we're seeing Steve do it."