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Defense Steps Up
November 5 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers defense stepped up their play against the Oakland Raiders, and held the explosive team to just 20 points. It was an all around good effort from the defense, which still needs improvement, but managed to put together four solid quarters. Of course the offenses control of the ball was also a big help in minimizing the Raiders ability to rack up yards and points against a struggling defense.

The 49ers who have been prone to give up around 70% of third down conversions cut the number to 45% on 11 attempts. This number still needs improvement, but certainly was vastly better then in past games. Forcing the punts and the turnovers allowed the offense to be less than perfect, which came in handy with the game on the line.

The 49ers also did a very good job of stopping the run. Charlie Garner averaged nearly two yards less per carry in this game than he has over the course of the season. The Raiders only amassed 81 yards rushing and were not much better passing.

Through the air Rich Gannon who had six 300+ yard games coming into the Battle Of The Bay was held to only 158 yards passing. A vast improvement from the 300 yard passers they’ve let up in recent weeks.

The 49ers were also able to limit the Raiders to just 4.8 yards per play, which is by any standards is an impressive figure, and the team, though they recorded just one sack, made six tackles for losses. This number was largely due to making tackles immediately and not letting the Raiders gain yards after the catch. But really it all came down to time of possession, where thanks to the 49ers running 84 offensive plays compared to the Raiders 50 offensive plays. It lead to a time possession lead of 44:33 to 24:08.

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