- The Washington Times - Monday, December 29, 2008

SAN FRANCISCO | Shaun Hill spent his last quarter of the season doing all he could to win a job for next year - at the Redskins‘ expense.

The former Maryland quarterback, whose career had been going nowhere until San Francisco interim coach Mike Singletary named him the starter midway through the season, was nearly perfect in the fourth quarter of a come-from-behind 27-24 victory against the Redskins on Sunday at Candlestick Park.

The comeback came a week after he rallied his team for two late touchdowns to beat the Rams.

“I’d prefer to have a giant lead, but that’s not how it’s gone,” he said. “All that matters is, when the clock says 0:00, we have more points than the other team. That’s how it’s worked the past couple of weeks.”

Hill and the 49ers trailed the Redskins 17-7 at halftime and 17-14 at the end of the third quarter. At that point, he was having a mediocre day, throwing an interception that set up a Redskins field goal in the second quarter.

In the fourth quarter, though, Hill completed 12 of 16 passes - and two of the incompletions were spikes to stop the clock in the final seconds. He finished 21-for-30 for 245 yards.

“We held him pretty well in check in the first half, but he really got it going in the second half,” Redskins linebacker London Fletcher said. “I can’t say that they or we did anything particularly different, but you saw the results of what he did. You’ve got to give credit to Shaun Hill, the way he moved his team in the second half, especially on that final drive. He kept his cool down the stretch when it counted most.”

Hill completed six of seven passes on an 80-yard drive early in the fourth quarter, with his 9-yard pass to Jason Hill putting the 49ers on top for the first time since the first quarter. He then engineered a drive to give the 49ers a field goal before the Redskins came back to tie the score, seemingly sending the game to overtime. The 49ers got the ball with 1:02 to go.

“I thought there was plenty of time,” Shaun Hill said. “As long as there’s time left on the clock, I’m not thinking about overtime.”

Hill completed passes of 19 and 24 yards to help set up Joe Nedney’s winning field goal.

With the victory, Hill improved to 5-3 as the 49ers’ starter. Considering the 49ers were 2-6 when he took over, that would seem to be a pretty nice line on his resume for 2009. It doesn’t hurt his case that Singletary, the man who anointed Hill starter in place of J.T. O’Sullivan at midseason, had the interim tag lifted from his title after the game.

Singletary will be back next season, but Hill isn’t taking starting for granted.

“I did all that I can do, and I leave that for someone else to decide,” he said. “All I do is go out and try to win ballgames and let someone else decide.”

So far, Hill said, no one has told him anything about his long-term status as the starter. But he has been through enough in his career to know that nothing is guaranteed.

After leaving Maryland after the 2002 Orange Bowl, he had an inauspicious career with the Minnesota Vikings, where he did not start a game. He came to the 49ers in 2006 and still did not start a game until the end of the 2007 season.

“You always have to keep proving yourself, especially a guy like myself,” Hill said. “It’s week to week, game to game.

“You have to keep proving yourself.”

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