Most of the talk this past week centered on the San Francisco 49ers' sickly offense. But by this afternoon, as the 49ers prepared for their home game against the Washington Redskins, their offense really was sick -- literally. So was the defense, along with Coach Steve Mariucci, as well as an assortment of assistants, team officials and family members.

Saturday, healthy players wore masks to protect themselves from the sick ones at team meetings. Today, before the 49ers' 20-10 victory over the Washington Redskins, 17 ailing players on the team -- including 10 starters -- went through 20 bags of intravenous fluids to help them play through an epidemic of stomach flu. At halftime, quarterback Jeff Garcia and safety Tony Parrish were put on IVs again.

"It was like a MASH ward in here," Parrish said. "We only have a certain amount of tables and the tables were full. There were guys sitting in chairs or standing up holding their own IVs. I was trying to squeeze the bag so the fluid would some out faster." Well before the opening kickoff, General Manager Terry Donahue was standing in the tunnel leading to the field when he saw starting tight end Eric Johnson drop to one knee.

"He came out to warm up," Donahue said, "and he threw up in a trash can." Garcia wasn't feeling so great, either, and removed himself from the game in the third quarter, giving way to backup Tim Rattay. Nonetheless, the 49ers (2-1) found a way to win, picking up a victory that lifted them into sole possession of first place in the NFC West. Mainly, they ran through the Redskins' defense for 252 yards and discovered that their best receiver also may be their best running back.

Through three games, Terrell Owens has struggled under the microscope of opposing defenses. In the first two games, he was limited to nine receptions for 79 yards, and the Redskins held him to two catches for 33 yards.

But early in the second quarter, the 49ers found a different way to get the ball in Owens' hands, on a reverse on which Owens had the option of running or passing.

In the end, he held on to the ball, danced around and through the Redskins' defense, took advantage of downfield blocks by Garcia and running back Garrison Hearst, and ended up in the end zone with a touchdown that gave the 49ers a 14-3 lead.

"I felt like it was about 88 yards," Owens said of his 38-yard run. "I was pretty winded after that."

Despite the victory and the highlight-reel play, Owens was not completely happy after the game. He was clearly frustrated that the 49ers ran out the clock at the end of the game rather than trying to tack on some more points against the team that routed them in Osaka, Japan, in the preseason.

"We just have no killer instinct," Owens grumbled afterward. "I wasn't the only one that felt like that and for whatever reason, we did what we had to do."

During the offseason, Mariucci and Owens patched up their tattered relationship. This was the closest there has been to a flare-up this season.

Asked whether he thought Redskins Coach Steve Spurrier would have passed up a similar opportunity, Owens said: "Nope. Not at all.''