49ers report card

Handing out grades after Baltimore 44, San Francisco 6 - a day that will live in 49ers infamy.

QUARTERBACKS: Jeff Garcia could have used a little more help from his receivers on some of his four interceptions, but he nonetheless was off target on those and several other throws. The rust showed after a four-week layoff and, while he may not have played as poorly as his spectacularly-bad 18.8 passer rating might indicate, that could be considered a rather accurate statement of his performance. Tim Rattay completed his first two passes, the second of which went for 32 yards, but he could do little else to spark the offense in the fourth quarter. Grade: F

RUNNING BACKS: Fullback Fred Beasley did some good things as a blocker and a receiver. He also missed a few blocks. Garrison Hearst and Kevan Barlow worked hard for their combined 95 yards rushing on 23 carries and might have become bigger factors if the game hadn't gotten away from the 49ers so quickly. Grade: C+

WIDE RECEIVERS: Tai Streets was held without a catch for the second time in three games. Cedrick Wilson had two passes go off his hands for interceptions and Terrell Owens had one of that variety. Brandon Lloyd got loose for a 32-yard reception, but this unit otherwise was kept in check and contributed to San Francisco's problems. Grade: D

OFFENSIVE LINE: The lack of continuity hurt with guard Ron Stone out and others switching positions, but the line hung in there against a tough defense. The Ravens entered the game second in the NFL in sacks and they left with none. There were some critical missed blocks, however, when the Niners needed some tough yards to extend drives. Grade: C+

TIGHT ENDS: Jed Weaver was the Niners' leading receiver with four receptions and Aaron Walker also had a catch. They all went for relatively short yardage but some extended drives. Weaver had a false start on third-and-5 that helped doom a San Francisco drive in Baltimore territory. The blocking here was less than stellar. Grade: C

DEFENSIVE LINE: Unit played tough against a good running team. John Engelberger made some plays with a 12-yard sack, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Unit was pushed around on occasion by a much bigger offensive line and, like during most of this season, missed opportunities to make plays at key sequences. Grade: C

LINEBACKERS: There were some conspicuous missed tackles, but this unit again keyed a respectable showing by a defense that was forced to defend a lot of short fields. Derek Smith had a fine game with 12 tackles and helped slow Baltimore's rushing game after its initial quick burst. Saleem Rasheed had a solid starting debut with six tackles and a forced fumble. An over-pursuing Julian Peterson was neutralized and limited to just one tackle. Grade: B

SECONDARY: Once again, the defensive backfield made some big plays but allowed some, too. Tony Parrish had an interception for the fourth consecutive game and Ahmed Plummer knocked down three passes. Jason Webster and Rashad Holman didn't play nearly as well, with the latter victimized on a 38-yard touchdown pass that helped break open the game. Baltimore receivers had just five catches and the safeties did a good job on tight end Todd Heap. Grade: C+

SPECIAL TEAMS: Todd Peterson came through with field goals of 48 and 40 yards, but his short kickoffs continue to have a drastic effect on field position. The coverage units allowed a 75-yard kickoff return and aided another Baltimore touchdown drive with Terry Jackson's 15-yard facemask penalty. Jimmy Williams's two punt returns netted minus-one yards. Cedrick Wilson hit some holes hard on kickoff returns but couldn't break anything substantial. Grade: D

COACHING: It's difficult to single out what the coaches could have done differently. Game plan to establish run to set up play-action passing was sound. Defensively, the Niners gave Baltimore some problems. It's tough to overcome so many turnovers and mistakes made by players. The biggest complaint here again regards why coaches can't seem to have this team ready to play better on the road, and why the Niners stumble the closer they get to the opposing goal line. Grade: C

OVERALL: The Niners were right there with the Ravens for almost a half before it all quickly fell apart. And we're not just talking about the game - we're talking about the season. This disaster equaled San Francisco's worst lost over the past 17 seasons. It could have been different, to be sure, but it is what it is. Grade: F

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