SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Of all the improbable elements in the San Francisco 49ers’ first victory since opening day, nothing matched a raucous crowd chanting “Cody! Cody!” on the way to the clinching field goal.

Cody who? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers found out.

The 49ers snapped a five-game losing streak with a 15-10 victory over the punchless Bucs on Sunday. Joe Nedney kicked five field goals, including a 28-yarder with 1:56 to play on the first scoring drive ever led by former fourth-string quarterback Cody Pickett.

Pickett emerged as an improbable hero for the 49ers (2-5), performing admirably in the final 11 minutes while Ken Dorsey and Alex Smith were out with injuries.

Pickett was the 49ers’ fourth QB as recently as two weeks ago, and the former rodeo cowboy has played on special teams this season to stay fresh. In fact, he tackled a punt returner moments before he stepped behind center.

But after Dorsey sprained his left ankle, Pickett marched the Niners 42 yards in 11 plays to Nedney’s last field goal, and the 49ers’ defense shut down Tampa two more times to clinch it. San Francisco won with just 208 yards of offense.

Joey Galloway caught eight passes for 149 yards for the Buccaneers (5-2), who began the day with the NFC’s best record. Their defense kept San Francisco out of the end zone, but Chris Simms was as terrible as his teammates.

Galloway caught a short pass and ran 78 yards for the game’s only touchdown with 10:33 to play. But Tampa Bay’s offense floundered in its first game since quarterback Brian Griese was lost for the season with torn knee ligaments.

Simms was 21-of-34 for 264 yards in his first start of the season, but his numbers didn’t reflect an inconsistent, tentative performance that included two interceptions – one bouncing off the head of umpire Darrell Jenkins – and a key fumble.

The Buccaneers also played without three-time Pro Bowl defensive end Simeon Rice, who was sent home before the game for an undisclosed violation of club policy. Rice had five sacks in Tampa Bay’s first six games, but apparently missed a team meeting.

Dorsey started in place of No. 1 draft pick Smith, who didn’t dress with strained ligaments in his knee. Dorsey was unimpressive, going 7-of-18 for 40 yards – and the 49ers traded veteran Tim Rattay to Tampa Bay last week, leaving Pickett as Dorsey’s only backup.

Wearing the throwback uniforms of San Francisco’s 1989 Super Bowl champions, the 49ers went three-and-out on Pickett’s first possession. But he got the offense going moments later – and the crowd, aware of the crazy situation, chanted “Cody! Cody!” during the drive.

Pickett immediately scrambled for a first down.

After Nedney’s fifth field goal, Simms fumbled as he was hit by Bryant Young on Tampa Bay’s first play, and Andre Carter recovered. Nedney missed a 39-yard field goal with 39 seconds left, but the Buccaneers did nothing, and the 49ers celebrated matching their win total from last season.

Nedney was the 49ers’ entire offense, scoring from 45, 47, 41, 46 and 28 yards. He was cut by Tennessee in February after missing the past two seasons with injuries, but was 9-for-9 on field goals until his miss in the final minute.

AP-ES-10-30-05 1951EST


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