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December 2 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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In some respects I almost wish that Seattle had been able to score after covering an onside kick with just about two minutes left on the clock. Maybe I even wish that they would have gone on to win this game in over time. Is that disloyal? Is that wrong? Maybe it seems that way but given that being blown out by a Philadelphia team last week that had itís third stringer in to close out the game, wasnít enough to wake this 49ers team up - maybe losing itís third strait, even after having a commanding lead would.

Is it the injuries? The execution? The Coaching? Iíll take ďdĒ for all of the above. The 49ers stepped onto the field, and after forcing a three and out appeared to playing inspired football. But then the offense took the field, and Jeff Garcia threw his first of two first quarter interceptions, the second came after the defense forced another three and out.

Things actually looked pretty good on the defensive side of the ball. The Hawks only scored 3 points in the entire half. The 49ers on the other hand had just one real touchdown scoring drive. Mostly it was a Jimmy Williams touchdown that made the difference - though the team did squeak out a field goal in second quarter too.

It was down hill from there though. While the defense played a tremendous first half, it gave up three touchdowns in the second half, and it would have been more points, if the Hawks werenít desperate for touchdowns at this point, or if they could hold onto the ball. Two interceptions and a fumble recovery were a big boost. The 49ers offense scored just one more touchdown, Hearstsí third of the day in the entire game. Punting four times.

What were the problems? The offense couldnít get on track because Garcia was off his game. The defensive secondary is still in a whole lot of pain. The coaches decided to go conservative in the second half of the game and it showed.

This is not how you win football games in the NFL. This is how the Cincinnati Bengals go about playing games in the NFL. Advancing the record - granted it was important, but when itís all said and done, this game was a pitiful effort from a team that is trying to get ready for the playoffs, trying to get some momentum going. Just pitiful.

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