December 17 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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I’ve been noticing lately, that the team is willing to play at whatever level the opposition is playing at. If the opposing team is aggressive, so will the 49ers be. If they are conservative, the 49ers will mirror them. Rather than dictating the game, and going for the scores, the 49ers are happy to take what they can get - and this has to be the largest fault of the coaching staff.
Against the Packers, the 49ers played a very conservative first half of football. And walked away with a 6-3 lead. But anyone who felt safe with that type of lead, after seeing what Brett Favre did with his team just last week, coming from behind big time against the Vikings, would have to have been out of their minds.
Still the 49ers seemed content to head into half time up by just three… likely thinking they were lucky to be in the lead at all. In essence they shot themselves in the foot. Later in the game, Jeff Garcia was intercepted off of Matt Willig’s back, and that was all the Packers needed to secure victory.
The coaching staff has a very tough decision to make in this short week (the 49ers play on Saturday). They need to decide whether it is more important to try and finish 11-5 and be a little bit more banged up, perhaps with a little more momentum, or whether they should risk finishing 9-7 and be healthier for the playoffs, and in better draft position this off-season. It won’t be an easy decision, and whichever is the coaching staff’s choice, will likely be viewed as the wrong decision.