November 4 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Itís hard to knock the coaching staff for anything in this game. They moved the ball well, they took time off the clock, and they did a good job dismantling a potentially explosive Raiders attack. This was a very had game to win, and that they 49ers did it, and now sit at 6-2, two and a half games above every other team in the NFC West is certainly encouraging.
The team remained focused and ready the entire game. Offensively, they were forced to punt just once - though the red zone offense is still struggling, it was good to see that the team was able to keep the ball moving, even when Owens was out of the game on the sideline. The commitment to run paid dividends in the second half of the game.
The 49ers ran 30 consecutive offensive plays in the fourth quarter and over time, executing to extreme precisions. The run game was key at this point to keep the sticks moving.
Defensively the 49ers third down defense still was hurting, but it was much improved, forcing three punts. The defense minimized the long gains, and in general was where they needed be to make plays. The coaching staff clearly has this group playing better.
The 49ers have a tough home game against the Chiefs this Sunday, itís followed by a game against a strong Charger team, the Eagles game that follows will be difficult too, and that game is followed by a divisional game against the Seahawks. The coaching staff must continue to keep this team motivated and improving.