November 6 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers were able to contain Rich Gannon, the Raiders quarterback, in their 23-20 overtime victory this past Sunday. In so doing, the 49ers were able to some what limit Jerry Rice, and virtually eliminate Tim Brown, two receivers destined for the Hall Of Fame. Last week I mentioned that the key to controlling the Raiders receivers did not come as much from coverage as it did from getting to the quarterback. Either the coaching staff listened, or we were both on the same page.
Gannon was held to 164 yards on 18 of 28 completions. He had just one touchdown and was under constant pressure, despite the 49ers only nailing him to the ground once. Gannon who had thrown for 300 or more yards in six consecutive games was simply out played by the 49ers defense who were coming off a string of terrible games.
With the quarterback under pressure, the cornerbacks didnít need to hold their coverage for as long. As such, Jerry Rice only gained 74 yards, and Tim Brown just ten. In fact, if not for third string receiver Jerry Porter working against rookie Mike Rumph the 49ers defense may have had an even greater game.
Itís an old theory that by rattling the quarterback an entire offense can be disrupted. Getting to the quarterback of course is the tricky part - easier said than done, but the 49ers did manage to keep a heavy pursuit on the Raiders quarterback, and ultimately it allowed them to limit the production of two of the greatest receivers in the history of the NFL.
Further - It went pretty much unnoticed, but on Monday, Steve Mariucci the 49ers head coach celebrated his 47th birthday. Happy B-day Mooch!