Blown Out--10/29/01
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The problem with the 49ers loss this weekend is not that they didnít win. Heck, itís not even that they blew a ridiculous lead. The problem was the attitude after the game. Players, coaches, and even the owners were stunned by what happened on the field. They simply didnít no what went wrong, and that, that is what the problem was with this weeks loss.

Itís not enough to be able to walk away from a win or a loss with glory or defeat. In order to improve in the NFL, and win consistently, you have to be able to take something meaningful away from each game. It can be as simple as the success of a new play, or as complex as a new personnel unit.

That is why when players make comments like Terrell Owensí, ďI don't know what happened," or Ray Brownsí ďThis doesn't have to be part of the growing process, we have to win this game. We didn't learn a thing." You really have to worry. These players should know why the game slipped through their fingers. And if they still canít figure it out, they should have spoken to Lance Schulters, "There's no excuse. We were sorry in the second half. We looked like we did last year. We should be ashamed of ourselves."

Could it be more simple? Towards the end of the game, you could see, the 49ers were making text book mistakes. They were penalized more times in this game than any other, they had a safety on special teams, they couldnít run, they didnít pass, and they could get to the Bears quarterback. They were playing like it was 2000 all over again.

All season Iíve been saying that the 49ers need tighten up on special teams. Iíve been saying that the team needs a legitimate compliment to Terrell Owens, and Iíve complained about the lack of production from the front four. The Bears, must have seen the same things I did, because they went after our weaknesses, that despite having two weeks off, were not corrected.

Our special teams coverage units were worse than normal, Iíll give them that, but theyíve only really had one good game this season. Terrell Owens was held out of the endzone, and two six receptions. Jeff Garcia had no one else to throw the ball too that could really make plays. Garrison Hearst was the biggest offensive threat the team had in the passing game, and heís a running back. That shouldnít be. The 49ers need to get production from the second receiving spot, be it JJ Stokes or Tai Streets, and quite frankly, it may be time to give Streets a shot - if it doesnít work out, no hard feelings, he and JJ switch back. The team couldnít run. For the first time this season, the team was held to under 100 yards rushing, and yet on two sets of crucial downs, that seemed to be all Mariucci wanted to do. The results were three-and-outs. The 49ers got to the Bears quarterback once this game. Naturally it was Bryant Young who forced the fumble, but after that, we had no control over the line of scrimmage. Controlling that line, as I pointed out in my last article was the key to this game.

There is lots that the 49ers should take from this game. And yes, Ray Brown, there is something to be learned, and itís not just where the team needs to improve. The team also needs to learn how to win consistently. How to put a team away and how to step up when they need to. The 49ers have had four games this season against weaker opponents, those games were too close for comfort largely because the youth on the 49ers team still need to learn how to control a game. The 49ers have one game to get things strait before playing New Orleans, and they better not show any mercy, because Marty Mornhinweg is coming back to town, and heíll have his team ready to play.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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