October 28 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Itís hard to complain when the coaching staff opens with a 17-0 lead in the first quarter. They clearly had the Cardinals out matched, and did a better job in the chess game. Penalties were few and far between, and the 49ers did not commit a turnover. They were the better team on Sunday - but I stilly worry about the defense.
Iíll start on offense though, where the 49ers again lost the time of possession battle, this time by just less than five minutes. Itís somewhat surprising that the 49ers are winning so often without controlling the clock. The 49ers only needed 18 first downs, to put up their 38 (which could easily have been 45 if they wanted to run up the score) points. The team was 50% on third down conversions, which is certainly quite good. A great coaching call on fourth and 8 almost gave the 49ers a last minute touchdown. Overall the offensive coaching gained 357 yards on a very promising game plan.
Amazingly, the Cardinals numbers on offense were better than the 49ers, which shows just how ruff a day it was for the 49ers defense. They gave up 420 yards and 75% of third downs were converted. That is simply dismal. Still Moraís defense game up big with four turnovers and three sacks, and somehow managed to stop the Cardinals. This group needs help, and lots of it on third downs.
The coaching staff continues to be impressive on offense, and less than impressive on defense. I liked that they had the team ready to play a big game for the division lead, that the team committed just 3 enforced penalties (25 yards) and remained rather well composed. To be able to keep winning though, against some very tough up coming opponents, the team will need to buckle down on defense.