November 19 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers offensive line had a simple assignment, pass block. They failed. A flat out ‘F’ not even an ‘E’ that has become so common in our politically correct school system - an ‘F’. Jeff Garcia was only sacked once, but he rarely saw an open passing lane, and was hit after almost every pass he threw, regardless of whether he was in the pocket or out of it. Garcia constantly avoided a sack by throwing the ball to the ground as he was getting pummeled. Remarkably Garcia kept bouncing up.
Part of the problem on the offensive line was Derrick Deese sitting on the sideline. Deese has not given up a sack to an opposing player this season. Matt Willig in his place was penalized and exploited and when Willig was injured, he began to substitute with Kyle Kosier, who aside from one rushing play, didn’t fair much better.
The line didn’t get much help from tight end Justin Swift who consistently failed to secure the outside pass rusher, and so it became harder to rush to the outside, and remained hard to pass.
In over time, Jeremy Newberry suffered what is believed to be a broken ring finger on his snapping (right) hand. The injury is similar to what Newberry had at the beginning of the season, and may prevent the 49esr from using the shotgun which has been so beneficial in recent weeks.
The offensive line can not play as poorly as it did on Sunday if the 49ers expect to win. They have to win the battle in the trenches, to pick up the third and fourth down conversions, and to help Garcia stay healthy threw the entire season. In the first eight games the 49ers gave up just 8 sacks. In the last two weeks the team has given up 4, it could have been a lot more if not for some great play by Garcia. It’s a scary statistic that needs to change pace.