Establishing The Run
October 30 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers failed to establish the run against the Cardinals, choosing instead to pass all game, and while it was an effective way to jump to a 31-7 lead, when it came down to trying to protect their lead, not being able to run hurt their chances. Itís not that the team wasnít able to run, Garrison Hearst averaged seven yards a carry, but the team failed to remain committed to running the ball.
Unable to run the 49ers lost the time of possession battle for the third consecutive week - this time by the largest margin, of about five minutes. Losing the time of possession battle meant that the defense was again on the field for most of the game. It also meant that the Cardinals were able to get the ball back from the 49ers offense fairly quickly - thus giving them more time to try and get back into the game.
This week against the Raiders the 49ers must get back to establishing the run. Itís important that they jump out to a lead, but they canít afford to become one dimensional against a versatile Raider team. Despite a hurt defensive backfield, the 49ers canít sit back and throw all day. They need to get their running backs going.
In all likelihood the 49ers recognize that they got away with one last week when they didnít establish the run. Two of the teams best offensive threats are in the offensive backfield, and the 49ers wonít be able to win this weeks game if they donít use them. The Raiders are simply too good a team to do that against, even after losing three consecutive games.