October 9 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers offense had its best performance of the season, posting 30 points of its own, and getting seven points of help from the defense. It was the first time this season that the 49ers eclipsed the 30 point mark, and not coincidentally was also one of their most diversified offensive attacks.
Eric Heitmann stepped in for Dave Fiore at guard and played fluidly with an offensive line that seems to improve each week. This unit is gaining chemistry, particularly when run blocking. Still, Garcia was hit far too often after throwing the ball, showing that he had pressure in his face all day. Garcia wonít become patient with his receivers until the offensive line can keep him on his feet.
Jeff Garcia had a good game. His 214 yards on 18 out of 24 attempts was pretty good considering the team was coasting the entire second half, and he left the game so Rattay could work Ďmop upí duty. Garcia threw for a touchdown and ran for another. He still isnít stretching the field, though he was doing a good job of spreading the ball around, and finally began throwing to his left a little bit. Garcia will get better once he gains confidence in the men in front of him. He was constantly moving around and I believe that played a big role in his ability to make some tough throws.
The receivers had a good game. Terrell Owens posted 7 receptions for 89 yards. He did however drop his seventh pass of the season, and continues to have trouble getting his infamous YAC yards - and that has a lot to do with only being thrown to when he is within ten yards of the line of scrimmage. He had one particularly nice play, where after catching the ball and turning up field he literally tossed Ramís defensive back Dre Bly aside. JJ Stokes looked like he was finally ready to have his break out game. He caught a touchdown pass and a 51 yarder, but had to leave the game due to a MCL sprain. The 49ers need Stokes to be that kind of threat opposite Owens, and they need him to do it consistently, and without injury. Tai Streets did nothing particularly notable, and Eric Johnson added a couple receptions.
The real story was the run game though. Fred Beasley was opening gaping holes for Hearst and Barlow to run through. Hearst had his first TD run of the season and recorded 116 yards on ONLY 13 carries. Kevan Barlow added another 50 yards on ten carries. These two runners do a steady job of keeping the offense moving.