49ers report card

Handing out grades to the 49ers after their eighth consecutive loss, a 13-9 defeat to the St. Louis Rams.

PASSING OFFENSE: F -- Trent Dilfer had a passer rating of 44.8, but a lot of the passing game's problems were not his fault. The receivers had four drops and failed to latch onto several other catchable passes. Darrell Jackson dropped two balls, including a throw in the end zone that would've tied the game late in the fourth quarter. Dilfer's two interceptions came on the 49ers' final plays of each half, as he was trying to make plays down the field.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Frank Gore did not have a lot of room to run. When he did have some holes, it appeared as if he failed to recognize them. Gore gained just 32 yards on 15 carries. It was the worst production he has experienced in his 26 career starts. FB Moran Norris carried just one time and was stopped for no gain on a third-and-1 play, leaving the 49ers with a 2.0 rushing average for the game.

PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- The 49ers could not have done much better in this area. Rams QB Marc Bulger threw for just 155 yards. With the six sacks, the Rams had just 105 net yards passing. DE Bryant Young had 2.5 sacks, giving him 5.5 in two games against the Rams this season. The 49ers also got some good pressure from other areas that hasn't been there in previous games.

RUSH DEFENSE: A-minus -- The 49ers put together a strong showing against Steven Jackson. He had runs of 37 and 21 yards. Other than that, Jackson was held to 34 yards on his other 21 carries. DE Marques Douglas had an especially strong performance with 10 tackles.

SPECIAL TEAMS: B-minus -- The 49ers were awful in the return game. Both Maurice Hicks and Michael Lewis fumbled, but both times the 49ers recovered the ball. Andy Lee had another strong game punting, and Joe Nedney made all three of his field-goal attempts. However, the 49ers failed to recover an onside kick late in the game that could've given them a better chance at winning the game.

COACHING: F -- The 49ers were down by seven points with less than two minutes to play. With a fourth-and-10 from the Rams 28-yard line, coach Mike Nolan decided to send Nedney out for a 46-yard field goal. That was no gimme, but he made it. Then, the 49ers needed the onside kick. They did not get that. They held the Rams to a three-and-out, but on the punt they took over at the 11-yard line, needing a TD, with 1:28 remaining. Nolan decided the 49ers had a better chance of all those pieces falling into place than making 10 yards on fourth down, even though the 49ers would have had a better second shot at the end zone had the 49ers not gained that first down and St. Louis had to start its final drive there. In essence, with the 49ers needing to get into the end zone, Nolan gave them one shot to get there instead of two.


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