49ers report card

Grading the 49ers after St. Louis 16, San Francisco 6:

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- The 49ers continue to struggle on offense. QB Tim Rattay had just 121 passing yards; factor in his four sacks for minus-24 yards, and the 49ers managed just 97 net passing yards. Rattay completed 10 of 21 passes and had a passer rating of just 45.9. Rattay threw an interception in the fourth quarter that extinguished the 49ers' hopes. The offensive line had its typical problems, especially RT Scott Gragg, who yielded two sacks.

RUSHING OFFENSE: D-minus -- Believe it or not, the 49ers felt as if they made some strides in the run game. RB Kevan Barlow had just 48 yards on 18 carries. The 49ers had just 63 yards as a team, with a 2.3-yard average. However, there actually seemed to be more room to run than in recent weeks.

PASS DEFENSE: B -- The 49ers kept the damage to a minimum against the high-powered Rams offense. Their only bad series came in the second quarter, when the Rams drove 81 yards for a touchdown on four plays. FS Ronnie Heard was in the middle of two of the Rams' big plays. SS Tony Parrish had his third interception in the last three weeks. DE John Engelberger recorded his fourth and fifth sacks of the season.

RUSH DEFENSE: D-plus -- The Rams managed to control the game on the ground behind the running of rookie Steven Jackson, who gained 119 yards on 26 carries. The Rams managed 10 first downs on the ground. The linebacker corps had some difficulty handling the fast and powerful running of Jackson.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- K Todd Peterson continues to be the 49ers' best offensive weapon. Peterson made field goals of 51 and 40 yards. He has performed very well this season. The 49ers' return game is less than spectacular. P Andy Lee did a fine job, with a net average of 39.8 on six punts.

COACHING: D -- You'd like to see coach Dennis Erickson employ more of an aggressive, nothing-to-lose approach. He has remained very conservative, which might be a function of the lack of confidence he has in his team. Defensive coordinator Willy Robinson, who has made some questionable calls in recent weeks, devised a pretty good plan to keep the Rams in check.


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