49ers report card
QUARTERBACKS Jeff Garcia made things happen with his feet, as usual, but his disturbing pattern of scattered and awry downfield throws continued. He whiffed on a pass that could have been ruled a fumble, and missed on two opportunities to hit a wide-open Terrell Owens in stride for plays that could have gone for long touchdowns. He did run for a touchdown and connected with Owens and rookie tight end Aaron Walker for two others, but they were routine short throws. Grade: C+ RUNNING BACKS Fred Beasley had one of his better games blocking. Garrison Hearst rushed for 74 tough yards, becoming the fourth player to rush for 5,000 yards as a 49er, but the running backs averaged only 3.6 yards a carry. Grade: B RECEIVERS Terrell Owens could have made better efforts on the ball on one of Garcia's long passes and another that was intercepted. Tai Streets averaged only 5.3 yards on his four receptions, but rookie Brandon Lloyd's first NFL reception was a 26-yarder that set up San Francisco's final touchdown. Grade: C+ TIGHT ENDS Walker broke a tackle to score on his 14-yard TD grab, but starter Jed Weaver had a poor game, being flagged for holding and a personal foul in the fourth quarter, and also whiffing on a block that resulted in Garcia being sacked. Grade: C- OFFENSIVE LINE Derrick Deese's return at left tackle brought some stability, though Garcia still had problems finding time to throw. Blocking for the run game improved as the game wore on. Grade C+ DEFENSIVE LINE Detroit, a weak running team, found some success on the ground, and it's the same old story in the pass-rushing department: This unit failed to record a sack. Grade: C LINEBACKERS There were a few missed tackles, but this unit again was strong in sideline-to-sideline pursuit and Derek Smith and Jeff Ulbrich - who each had a team-high seven tackles - both made excellent plays in pass coverage. Grade: B+ SECONDARY This unit did a fine job against Detroit's receivers and rookie sensation Charles Rogers. Detroit's longest pass play came on a fluke tipped pass that could have been an interception. Ahmed Plummer made a fine read on his interception and Tony Parrish's interception and 49-yard return was the play of the game. Grade: A SPECIAL TEAMS The wind was terrible at 3Com Park, contributing to punter Bill LaFleur's low, line-drive punts. Owen Pochman drilled a 48-yard field goal in those conditions, however, and his 37-yard attempt was on line before the wind blew it away. The coverage units were adequate but the Niners continued to get little from their return game. Grade: B- COACHING The Niners were ready to play after a difficult week of practice, but the team sagged again and lacked emotion after a strong start. This time, however, they got it right at the end to snap a three-game losing streak. Grade: B OVERALL A win's a win, as everybody was saying afterwards. But this was the Detroit Lions. Against a team like that, the Niners shouldn't be hanging on at the end. Grade: B-
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