Record half garners first NFC honor for Hill

The first half of Shaun Hill's first home start of 2008 truly was something to remember. So the NFL made it just that by naming the 49ers quarterback as NFC Offensive Player of the Week for his standout performance in San Francisco's 35-16 rout of the St. Louis Rams last Sunday, making Hill the first 49er honored by the league this season.

Hill needed practically only one half of action to garner the award. He became the first starting quarterback in 49ers history to record a perfect passer rating of 158.3 in the first half of a game when he completed 12 of 14 passes for 192 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a touchdown in the game's opening two quarters to stake San Francisco to a dominating 35-3 halftime lead.

It was the most passing yards in the first half by a San Francisco quarterback since Jeff Garcia threw for 221 first-half yards against Arizona in 2003.

Hill and the rest of the San Francisco offense pretty much put it in neutral during the second half, when Hill threw only six passes, completing three of them for 21 yards. He finished 15 of 20 for 213 yards passing with a final 142.3 rating.

Hill, who took over as San Francisco's starter from J.T. O'Sullivan during the team's bye week at the end of October, wasn't expecting any accolades to come his way after helping the 49ers end a six-game losing streak.

"It was kind of a surprise," Hill said Wednesday. "But anytime a quarterback gets an award like that, it's a direct reflection of how the whole offense plays, and in this case how the whole team played. The defense and special teams set us up with field position, and then the whole offense executed. The offensive line obviously played unbelievable and all the skill guys made great plays.

"So it's a great honor, but it's an honor that should be shared with the whole team."

Hill also had the longest pass completion of his career when he connected with Bryant Johnson for a 42-yard gain in the second quarter. His previous best was a 31-yard touchdown pass to Josh Morgan at Arizona on Nov. 10.

Hill directed five first-half scoring drives. The 49ers' 35 first-half points are the most they have scored in the first half since scoring a team-record 42 points against Atlanta in 1992.

Hill had touchdown passes of 2 yards to Johnson and 2 yards to Vernon Davis and scored himself on a 1-yard run during San Francisco's 28-point outburst in the second quarter, which tied a team record for most points in a quarter.

This is the first time Hill, now 3-1 as San Francisco's starting quarterback over the past two seasons, has received recognition from the NFL. In his 10 quarters of action so far this year, Hill has completed 49 of 83 passes (59 percent) for 603 yards and five touchdowns and has a 91.6 passer rating.

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