Holding Onto The Ball
October 9 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The two players on the 49ers, other than Jeff Garcia who touch the ball the most, Garrison Hearst and Terrell Owens, do a remarkable job of holding onto the ball (for Owens of course, Iím talking about after heís actually has possession of it). Between the two, in 2001, they had 414 touches and not one fumble.
In 2001, Hearst touched the ball 306 times, many of those times he had to run threw defenders trying to strip the ball from his hands. He did not once put the ball on the ground. Hearst ranked fifth of all NFL running backs in fumbles per touch. Through 2002, Hearst has had another 64 touches without putting the ball on the ground.
Terrell Owens touched the ball 98 times in 2001 without fumbling. He ranked first in the NFC and third in the NFL among receivers. In 2002 Owens has held the ball 21 times without fumbling once.
Itís vital that the Ďplay makersí on a team be able to hold onto the ball, and not cough it up. Itís one of the things that distinguishes good from great teams. The 49ers know that they can give the ball to these guys when the game is on the line, and more often than not, they will get the job done, and even more often than that, they wonít make a game breaking mistake.