49ers report card

Grading the 49ers after their damaging 20-10 loss to the Packers on Sunday in Green Bay:

QUARTERBACKS: Tim Rattay came back down to earth in his third start, but his numbers - 14 of 30 for 142 yards passing - were more a reflection of the extreme pressure he faced all afternoon. He displayed some poise against a heavy rush that sacked him four times, and made a perfect touchdown strike on a fourth-down play. He had to hurry some passes and the Niners never touched the ball again after his interception with six minutes left in the game. Grade: C

RUNNING BACKS: A 22-yard run by Garrison Hearst improved his final totals to 16 carries for 59 yards, but the Niners never could get their running game going, and that hurt. The game plan steered away from Kevan Barlow, who had a season-low four carries. Grade: C-

RECEIVERS: Terrell Owens, Cedrick Wilson and Tai Streets combined for 11 catches, but the Niners couldn't find the time to get them the ball more often. Owens had a touchdown catch from Rattay for a third consecutive game. Rattay needed more help from his receivers in adjusting their routes and coming back for passes. A false start by Wilson helped push the Niners out of field-goal range on an early drive. Grade: C+

TIGHT ENDS: Jed Weaver produced a first down with his only catch on a third-and-10 play, but his false start on a first-and-goal play from the Green Bay 8 was the beginning doom of a drive that produced no points. The blocking of tight ends failed to help the running game. Grade: C-

OFFENSIVE LINE: A series of fine performances by this unit came to an end here. Guard Ron Stone left the game with a hamstring injury during San Francisco's first offensive series, and the line never recovered. His replacement, Dwayne Ledford, had a terrible effort. The usual push that has been there in the running game never was established, and the constant pressure put on Rattay resulted in several protection breakdowns. Grade: D

DEFENSIVE LINE: The Niners had the NFL's fourth-ranked rushing defense after allowing just 53 yards on the ground in their past two games, but this unit was no match for Green Bay's top-ranked rushing attack, and that was the deciding factor in the game. Green Bay backs had huge holes to run through all day. The Pack smashed the Niners for a season-worst 243 yards on the ground, including 5.1 a crack. Grade: F

LINEBACKERS: Julian Peterson did his best to clean up San Francisco's leaking defensive front with a game-high 11 tackles. Jeff Ulbrich had nine tackles and Derek Smith had six, but there were occasions when these guys whiffed on their first crack at Green Bay ball carriers. Grade: C+

SECONDARY: Cornerbacks Jason Webster and Mike Rumph were in decent position on Green Bay's two touchdown receptions, but those two big plays resulted in Green Bay's only two touchdowns nonetheless. None of Green Bay's other eight receptions went for more than nine yards. Interceptions by Rumph, Zack Bronson and Tony Parrish were fine plays that could have put the Niners in a better position to win. Like the linebackers, this unit also was busy making tackles. Grade: B-

SPECIAL TEAMS: These units did nothing to help the Niners. Todd Peterson missed a 28-yard field goal and his kickoffs were extremely short. Bill LaFleur's punting was poor, the return game produced very little and Jimmy Williams had a 15-yard penalty on a punt that aided Green Bay's final scoring drive. Grade: D-

COACHING: Decision to go for end zone on fourth-and-3 play from Green Bay 24 was brilliant and got Niners back in game. Decision to run reverse with Terrell Owens on third-and-1 play with Green Bay stacking the line near midfield was puzzling. Otherwise, the game plan was not bad as the Niners attempted to go with their strengths. Their players just didn't make it happen. However, there should have been more adjustments to find ways to beat Green Bay's weak pass defense. Grade: C

OVERALL: The Niners were beaten to the punch and failed to take advantage of early opportunities that could have changed the complexion of the game. This was a desperate situation for San Francisco, but the Niners failed to play like it, greatly increasing the chances they won't be playing in January. Grade: D


Niners Digest Top Stories