49ers report card
QUARTERBACKS: Jeff Garcia continued to misfire practically every time he attempted to go deep, saying himself, "I should have been pitching with all the screwballs and curveballs I was throwing." He did, however, lead an organized comeback against a defense that blasted him in the first half, and he displayed his ultimate toughness by scoring what should have been the tying touchdown as he got clobbered in the end zone. Grade: B- RUNNING BACKS: There's no getting over Garrison Hearst's killer fumble. Otherwise, the Hearst-Barlow tailback tandem continued to produce, gaining 102 yards on 25 carries. Grade: C WIDE RECEIVERS: Tai Streets made some plays down the field and had a fine night. Cedrick Wilson also made a nice 16-yard catch-and-run on San Francisco's final possession. Terrell Owens broke several tackles on a short pass to set up what should have been the tying touchdown, but the rest of his night was a disaster. He dropped three passes that had big play written all over them, and that could have made a difference in a one-point game. Grade: D+ TIGHT ENDS: Jed Weaver had two receptions and his blocking was adequate. Aaron Walker was called for a false start that pushed Niners back to begin their final drive. Grade: C OFFENSIVE LINE: Unit experienced problems immediately when left tackle Derrick Deese and left guard Eric Heitmann were forced to leave early with injuries. Unit allowed Garcia to get hammered and opened up little room in the running game in first half, but got progressively better in both areas after getting settled in the second half to the point where it actually was seizing control of the game. Grade: C+ DEFENSIVE LINE: It also was a tale of two halves for the defensive line, which got tough in the second half and begin putting the hurt on the Seahawks after being pretty much handled in the first half. Chidi Ahanotu and Andre Carter both got sacks in the second half and unit's resurgence after halftime put Niners in a position to pull out victory. Grade: C+ LINEBACKERS: There were a lot of missed tackles here, but also a lot of plays being made by an active group. Julian Peterson, Derek Smith, Jamie Winborn and Jeff Ulbrich combined for 28 tackles. Peterson had a sack and Ulbrich knocked down a pass. There were a few breakdowns in coverage, one of them leading to a Seattle touchdown, and quarterback Matt Hasselbeck was able to slip free for a key gain on the drive that provided the game-winning field goal. Grade: C SECONDARY: Tony Parrish made a great diving interception that helped push the Niners back in the game, and the secondary generally kept Seattle receivers in front of it. The Seahawks, however, were able to come up with some key catches in pivotal sequences, including an 18-yard catch by Koren Robinson on third-and-9 that prevented the Niners from getting the ball back one final time at the end. Grade: C SPECIAL TEAMS: A disaster. Owen Pochman missed a 38-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, and Bill LaFleur later botched the hold on a PAT attempt that ended up being the difference in the final score. The return game offered nothing special and LaFleur had another subpar evening punting. Pochman made a 42-yard field goal to put Niners ahead in the fourth quarter, but it couldn't save the day. Grade: D- COACHING: The Niners did not come out ready to play for such an important game. But there was a big turnaround after halftime, which put San Francisco in position to actually pull out a victory. It's hard to blame coaching for a botched PAT attempt and a late fumble by the team's sure-handed tailback. Grade: B- OVERALL: Good teams find a way to pull out victory in games such as Sunday's. What's that make the Niners? Well, they're 2-4 with three of the losses coming by a combined five points. That has their season beginning to circle the drain unless they can get things plugged up in a hurry and prevent the leaks that have resulted in close, agonizing defeats like this one. Grade: C-
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