I do not care what level of football you are playing out. When the highlight of your game is an 81 yard punt – which admittedly is pretty amazing, there is something really wrong with the rest of your team. Punter Andy Lee boomed a punt 81 yards starting six yards deep in the endzone. The ball was eventually downed on the ‘Bucs 10 yard line. Lee struggled early on, but had plenty of opportunity to re-prove himself, and he most certainly did improve. It certainly looks like the 49ers have finally found a punter.
The 49ers first half was as pitiful as it gets. Kevan Barlow stunk up the joint. The offensive line may as well have stayed on the sideline drinking tea. And Tim Rattay looked like Jim Drukenmiller. It really was that bad. The receivers did nothing, but it is very had to blame them given the pitiful performance of Rattay and the offensive line. The offense did improve, in that it was able to get yards, but it was playing against a much softer defense in the second half of the game.
The defense was flat out ugly. 21 points in the first two quarters. No pressure, no coverage. This group looked as bad as the offense. All around ugly performance with the exception of 2 Tony Parish interceptions.
I was happy to see the 49ers youngsters get some play time. Even though Woods and Williams did little of nothing it was nice to see them on the field. Hicks could not get into the endzone twice from the three, but still looks better than Barlow has this season.
We need cornerbacks. Ahmed Plummer out, Mike Rumph out. Leaves the 49ers in a very precarious position. Dwaine Carpenter a safety started at corner… again. In simple terms any NFL receiver should be able to catch the ball and do cartwheels in the 49ers secondary.
Dennis Erickson was adamant about this performance not being blamed on Tim Rattay… and the performance of the offensive line might have something to do with that. Still, when your QB only completes 4 passes all to running backs in the first half of a game, it is time to make a switch. Sometimes changing your quarterback lights up your team. "Tim was not our problem (Sunday)," coach Dennis Erickson said. "If I thought Tim was our problem, then yes, I would have made the move. It is a number of different things." This to me just sounds like a poor coaching choice. Sometimes even if the problem is not the quarterback you have to make the switch.
Speaking of Erickson, he continues to deny reports about his return to the NCAA and Oregon. However, some pre-game shows at least were suggesting that it would be the smartest move the guy could make. Erickson continues to get support from management and ownership, who say they are committed to him long term. Of course, I do not know what else they would say in the middle of a season, given that the last thing this team needs is more disorder. There is some speculation that the team will ask Erickson to restructure his staff after the season, and Erickson who is loyal to his staff might take this offensively. This could get ugly folks.
Terry Donahue was also quoted as follows: "The reality of it is Dennis took over a team that was 10-6 (in 2002) and we had (Jeff) Garcia and (Terrell) Owens and Garrison (Hearst) and we had some guys. No one knew at that time that this was going to happen to our team - that we were going to be as salary-cap strapped as we were." What bothers me here is the last sentence. Go ahead. Read that again. “No One knew at that time that this was going to happen to our team – that we were going to be as salary-cap strapped as we were.” Correct me if I am wrong here, but is it not Terry Donahue’s job to KNOW what the salary cap situation of the team is for the current AND future years?