49ers report card
PASSING OFFENSE: A-minus -- QB Ken Dorsey recorded his first NFL victory and achieved a 99.0 passer rating and his first three touchdown passes in the process. The 49ers had some dropped passes, but their receivers came up big when it was needed. WR Cedrick Wilson had two TD receptions and came up with a critical 19-yard reception on a third-and-17 situation in overtime that led to the winning score. Dorsey received very good protection from the offensive line and was sacked just once. RUSHING OFFENSE: B -- Maurice Hicks, playing in place of the injured Kevan Barlow, helped rejuvenate the running game with 139 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries. Hicks ran hard and the line blocked very well for him. The lone blemish for the run game was Terry Jackson's fumble late in regulation that led to the tying field goal. PASS DEFENSE: B -- The 49ers surrendered 307 yards passing to Cardinals QB Josh McCown, but the secondary generally played very well. The 49ers did not get much of a pass rush, but the secondary kept the damage to a minimum. Starting CBs Dwaine Carpenter and Shawntae Spencer both played well, and third CB Joselio Hanson made one of the plays of the game when he batted down a pass intended for Freddie Jones in the end zone. SS Tony Parrish recorded his fourth interception in the last four games. RUSH DEFENSE: B-plus -- The 49ers dominated the line of scrimmage in the run game as Emmitt Smith had very little room for most of the game. In the fourth quarter, Smith found some openings and gained 36 of his 53 rushing yards. In overtime, Smith was stuffed for no gain as part of a game-turning three-and-out. SPECIAL TEAMS: A -- K Todd Peterson hit a 31-yard field goal in overtime for the winning points. Special teams played a key role, starting with Keith Lewis' recovery of a muffed punt in the first quarter. The play led to the 49ers' first touchdown of the game. P Andy Lee had a terrific punt in overtime, pinning the Cardinals deep in their own territory at the 3-yard line. COACHING: B -- Coach Dennis Erickson gambled in the first quarter when he went for it on fourth-and-inches from the San Francisco own 34-yard line. Dorsey's sneak was successful and the 49ers went on to score a TD to go up 14-0. It was also a good decision on Erickson's part to kick the field goal on first down from the 13-yard line in overtime. The way things have gone for the 49ers, another offensive play would have been another opportunity for a turnover.
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