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Hearst Leaves Pack Feeling Hamstrung

´╗┐Hearst Leaves Pack Feeling Hamstrung

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Just the mention of Atlanta, his offseason home, is enough to stoke Hearst’s fire.

Not that he needed much of that.

His mood after the first playoff win of his career was of cloud nine vintage. Winning on your team’s final play can do that, even if you’re flat on your butt when the play takes place.

“Hamstring’s fine,” he said. “I got a cramp in the lower part of the leg that’s why I came out. They took me behind the bench and started massaging the cramp. I was going to come back but then time ran down and then Steve connected with () and we win. Amazing.”

Hearst was best in sweeping right or left yesterday and away from the sevenman fronts which were often reinforced by Packer safeties brought up to the line of scrimmage. He got some bursts 17 yards, 12 yards up the middle against the big Packer tackle , who tired late in the game.

Hearst got good blocking support from fullback and tight end as well as his offensive line a line that he rewarded with Rolex watches last week for their timely blocks this season.

Hearst ran 22 times yesterday and continued to run late in the game at a point when the running game was abandoned in the 3622 Packers win on November 1. Last week, the offensive line made its best pitch to the coaching staff to go with the run and stick with it. Hearst’s best run was a 24yarder in the third quarter that ignited a 49er drive from their own 22yardline. It was punctuated by a stiff arm to the face of Packer safety LeRoy Butler.

If the last regularseason game against the Rams, when Hearst left early after slightly pulling his hamstring, is ignored, he has more than a hundred yards for five games in a row. Of course, he already holds the team record for most rushing yards in a single season, but now he’d like to pay the Falcons back for their 3119 win in Atlanta in November that was the difference between the 49ers and the Falcons in the race for the NFC West title. The Falcons, the secondbest run defense in the league, held Hearst to 56 yards that afternoon.

“This next game is going to have me excited. We owe those guys something,” he said.

The 49ers may have caught a break when Arizona knocked off the Cowboys on Saturday. If Dallas had won as expected, they’d be on their way to Minnesota to play the best threereceiver passing offense in the league and a team they’re unfamiliar with.

Instead, they play the Falcons, whom they’ve played twice this season. Before the 3119 loss to Atlanta on November 15, the 49ers had won eight of the previous nine meetings and were 2571 since mid1981.

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