November 11 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Only able to muster 17 points against one of the leagues worst defenses, the 49ers offense was certainly a disappointment. The offense played a good first half of football, but as the blocking began to break down in front of Garcia, the offense began to stifle. The game, also should have given the 49ers a good reason not to shift Tai Streets out of the second receiver position even when Stokes enters the lineup.
Starting on the offensive line, which gave up three sacks on Jeff Garcia. The line did a good job establishing its self in the first half, picking up a fourth and one conversion, but they were unable to give Jeff Garcia the time in the second half. Rookie Eric Heitmann was pounded on all day. This is the second consecutive week of spending lots of time on the field for the entire offense, and it has to be hurting the larger men on this side of the ball.
Quarterback Jeff Garcia did play anywhere near the level he did against the Raiders. While Garcia started the team out pretty well, taking the short completions that the defense was giving him. Garcia threw his fifth interception in scoring position at the end of the second quarter, a pass that should have been thrown away ended up in the hands of a Chief, ending any chance of putting more points on the board before the end of the half. His game, seemed to fall from there. Iím a firm believer that Garciaís drop in ability this game stemmed from the offensive line and from moving Streets down in the progressions when Stokes was on the field.
The 49ers receivers did nothing special in this game. Terrell Owens added what was his tenth unofficial dropped pass this season, nearly one fifth of all catchable passes seem to fall to the turf. Tai Streets was shifted to the third receiver position when Stokes was on the field, and while in theory this may make sense, given where these two players have spent most of their career practicing, in practice, the theory predictably failed. The 49ers have to bring Stokes in as the third receiver and not drop Streets in the progression just because Stokes is on the field.
The running backs had a decent day. Both Barlow and Hearst got into the endzone and Fred Beasley contributed by adding a few first downs. The group still isnít putting together the rushing performances they were earlier this year, and that could be because the offensive line is tiring after playing so much offense over the past two weeks. Garrison Hearst looked to be much more explosive with his injury healing up.
This was not an impressive offensive performance despite converting 61% of their third down opportunities. The team was playing against a very week defense, and they simply couldnít put the points on the board. It may however be the wakeup call this team needs to get ready for the Chargers.