November 11 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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I give the coaching staff a lot of credit on the defensive side of the ball. Jim Mora made adjustments to seal up holes in the secondary, and to limit the Chiefs number one rated offense to just three points in the second half of the game. Mora also brought out a defensive scheme that has not been used since pre-season. It was implemented to perfection forcing a sack and three incomplete passes to end the game.
I have to continue to give credit to the coaching staff for getting this team ready to play after a very emotional win against the Raiders. The team remained rather focused, committing just three penalties and did a good job of executing the game play despite not putting up many points on the board. The coaching staff kept the ball away from the Chiefs calling for over 38 minutes of offense, it was enough to silence the Chiefs.
Offensively, there were a few nice calls, like a pitch to Barlow in a single back set, something the 49ers have featured rarely if ever this season. Or like the two reverses the team called, they were very effective.
But for everything this group did well, it may have been completely ruined by how Steve Mariucci handled the last drive of the first half. In scoring position, with one time out, the 49ers were upset with the spotting of a ball, and how the officials had let the clock tick down. Mariucci spiked the ball, then called a time out, out of frustrations with seven seconds left on the clock, wanting to shout out the officials. He let his emotions get the best of him, because that time out could have been much better spent had he stayed composed. Instead, Mariucci called for a pass on third down, which would have been an ok call, but the pass was thrown into the hands of a Chiefís defender after Garcia left the pocket to try and make something happen. As a result, the 49ers couldnít even attempt a field goal. Maybe Garcia wasnít reminded to throw the ball away if nothing was there, but for some reason he didnít, and for the first time that Iíve ever seen, coach Mariucci had lost control of the game.
The poor clock and play call management at the end of the first half was by far my biggest beef during the game, but I definitely disagreed with the strategy of shifting Streets down in the offensive progressions when Stokes was brought on to the field. The offense was no where near as effective, nor did it look as potent with this configuration, and if the 49ers coaching staff is smart, theyíll change this sooner rather than later.