Notes and personnel
Defensive coordinator Jim Mora compiled a highlight film of Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott several years ago. He shows the film on an annual basis to his secondary to demonstrate the things that made Lott so great. On Monday, the 49ers will retire Lott's No. 42 jersey at halftime of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cornerback Ahmed Plummer said he is duly impressed every time he sees the film clips of Lott. "He could do it all," Plummer said. "He was not a one-dimensional player. He could cover, catch, run, tackle and hit hard. There was so much he could do to help the team win. "It was obvious how much the game meant to him. I want to have that same passion. I'm working toward that." --- Running back Kevan Barlow was hoping he would be able to play against his hometown team in Pittsburgh. But the game still holds a lot of significance for him. Barlow grew up in Pittsburgh and attended the University of Pitt. He was a Steelers fan all the way, as was apparent every year when he went trick-or-treating. "For Halloween I was Franco Harris every year until I was 10 years old," Barlow said. "From 2 to 10, I was Franco." --- Through the first nine games of the season, receiver Terrell Owens has been the intended receiver on 96 pass plays or 33.2 percent of all 49ers passing attempts. He has caught just 48 passes, or 50 percent of the attempts that have gone his way. Tai Streets has been the intended target 55 times or just 19 percent of all 49ers passing attempts. He has 32 receptions. --- The 49ers are 7-7 in the week following the bye since 1990, but they are 4-2 over their last six games. --- Second-year linebacker Saleem Rasheed has been fortunate this season that the Muslim holy month of Ramadan has fallen during the most opportune time of the 49ers' season. A year ago, Rasheed tried to fast during daylight hours of all days. He aggravated a quadriceps strain during one game, prompting then-coach Steve Mariucci to wonder if the injury occurred because he was not drinking liquids during the game. This year, Rasheed has decided to drink water during the 49ers' Nov. 2 game against the Rams with the understanding that he will make up the day of fasting later. Under guidelines of the religion, fasting takes place during daylight hours. Because the 49ers' game Monday against the Steelers is at night, Rasheed can drink water. "We had one game, then a week off, then a Monday night game," Rasheed said. "I'm truly blessed to have Ramadan fall during this time of the year." --- The 49ers, who rank second in the league in covering punt returns, will have their biggest challenge of the season in facing Antwaan Randle El, who has returned two punts for touchdowns this season. "He is the best one that we have faced," Erickson said. "He is a really talented athlete that if you give him a seam, then he is going to take it. It is really important that we get some hang time on the football so we can get some coverage on it." --- The 49ers will face their first 3-4 defense of the season when the Steelers come to Candlestick Park. "It's different because you don't know where they are coming from," Erickson said. "They can move people around and you don't know which linebacker is coming and they can create problems for you, as far as protection is concerned. They stunt and bring 'backers to the inside and it can create some havoc for you in all areas." BY THE NUMBERS: 27 -- Number of quarterback sacks the 49ers have recorded this season, which is just five shy of their total for all of last season. STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL The 49ers plan to give rookie receiver Brandon Lloyd more action in the second half of the season, as the team must begin planning for the future. Lloyd enjoyed a good training camp and exhibition season, as he led the team with eight receptions for 142 yards and two touchdowns. But once the regular season began, Lloyd was relegated to the duties of the No. 4 receiver. The 49ers targeted Lloyd for just five passes in the first half of the season. He made three receptions for 61 yards. He made a diving catch for a 27-yard touchdown in the 49ers' 30-10 victory over the Rams on Nov. 2. Because he has earned additional playing time and because the rest of the receivers are banged up, Lloyd is expected to become more involved in the offense. Terrell Owens (groin), Tai Streets (both knees) and Cedrick Wilson (hamstring) are the team's top three receivers. Lloyd could become the 49ers' top receiver as early as next season. Owens and Streets are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents and neither is expected to re-sign with the 49ers. Wilson is scheduled to be a restricted free agent but is not considered a No. 1-caliber receiver. PERSONNEL/INJURY NOTES --- Running back Garrison Hearst has rushed for more than 130 yards in four of his eight appearances on "Monday Night Football" with the 49ers. Overall, in nine games he has gained 913 yards on 164 attempts for a 5.6-yard average. --- Safety Tony Parrish has the longest consecutive-games played streak among the 49ers. Parrish has played in 89 consecutive games, or every game of his six-year career. Parrish started all 64 games in his four seasons with the Chicago Bears. --- Cornerback Ahmed Plummer leads the 49ers with four interceptions. Since 2002, he ranks fifth in the league with 27 passes defensed. Plummer is in the final year of his contract, and is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent. --- Linebacker Derek Smith has led the team in tackles in five of the team's nine games this season. He leads the 49ers with 96 tackles this season. He has recorded 357 tackles in his three seasons with the 49ers. --- Receiver Terrell Owens has topped the 100-yard mark in receiving just twice in the first nine games of the season. The 49ers are 12-2 in the last two seasons when Owens has gone over the 100-yard mark. --- Safety John Keith, who was activated from the practice squad because of injuries to Zack Bronson and Ronnie Heard, started and recorded five tackles Nov. 2 in the 49ers' victory over the Rams. Keith is expected to make his second start of the season Monday vs. the Steelers. --- Left guard Kyle Kosier has proved to be a valuable backup for the 49ers this season. With starter Eric Heitmann out of the lineup for another week or two with a left ankle sprain, Kosier will get his eighth start in 10 games this season. Kosier has seen significant playing time in every game this season.
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