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4th Quarter Shut Down
October 24 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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As the 49ers entered the fourth quarter against the Saints, for some reason the team began to shut down. The defense was unable to stop the Saints all game, so their inability to do so after two turnovers wasnít much of a surprise, the surprise was the drop in offensive production.

Rather than continuing clock consuming long drives, scoring or non-scoring, the 49ers made two costly errors in the fourth quarter. What bothers me is that while the team could have gone three and out, punting the ball away, and giving their defense a fighting chance, that they coughed the ball up, not once but twice.

Big players need to make big plays, and in the fourth quarter, right down to the final drive, the star players werenít making the plays. Garciaís passes were not perfect, Terrell Owens hands were as inconsistent as they always are, and suddenly a running game that averages more than five yards a carry disappears.

The clock expired long after the 49ers had lost interest and shut down their team. It wasnít for a lack of trying or coaching, but the 49ers for some reason have a hard time protecting a lead. Players need to remain interested throughout the game, and play all four quarters of the game. Again Iím not saying that this loss lies squarely on the shoulders of the offense, or a few certain players, but rather that there wasnít a single area on the team that played well enough to win the Saints game in the fourth quarter.

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