A Look at the Competition

Tim Rattay has been a bright spot during a rebuilding year for the San Francisco 49ers.

PASSING OFFENSE: B-minus -- Quarterback Tim Rattay, when healthy, has generally played very well. He has compiled a 92.5 passer rating with seven touchdowns and three interceptions. In the 49ers' lone victory, Rattay completed a team-record 38 passes for 417 yards. Backup Ken Dorsey started two games. He played well in one game and could not prevent the 49ers from being shut out, ending a scoring streak that had reached 420 games. Tight end Eric Johnson has been the team's top receiver, catching 45 passes for 484 yards and two touchdowns. They are still waiting for a No. 1 wide receiver to emerge from the group.

RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Running back Kevan Barlow has been a disappointment as he takes over the featured role after the club parted ways with Garrison Hearst in the offseason. Barlow has averaged just 3.7 yards a carry. Some of the problem is that Barlow has not hit holes aggressively, and part of the blame goes to the offensive line, which has failed to create holes. Also, backup running back Jamal Robertson has fumbled twice at crucial times, including one that helped cost the 49ers a loss at New Orleans in Week 2.

PASS DEFENSE: F -- Opposing quarterbacks have torched the 49ers for a passer rating of 102.5. In six games, the 49ers have intercepted just two passes while giving up 10 touchdowns through the air. Part of the problem has been the 49ers' lack of a pass rush. The 49ers have recorded just 10 sacks in six games as the pass rush has been hurting from the losses of Andre Carter and Julian Peterson.

RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The run defense has been very good at times -- as the 49ers are holding the opposition to just 3.7 yards a carry. Marshall Faulk rushed for 121 yards and Curtis Martin had 111 yards against them. Other than that, the 49ers' defense has done a good job with defensive tackles Bryant Young and Anthony Adams in the middle. Linebackers Derek Smith, who missed the last two games with an ankle injury, and Jeff Ulbrich have performed well against the run.

SPECIAL TEAMS: C-minus -- Kicker Todd Peterson has given the 49ers what they expected. He's made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts, but his lack of range has not given the team an opportunity to attempt some field goals beyond 46 yards. Rookie punter Andy Lee has a 40.8-yard average, with a net 34.3. Arnaz Battle has performed well in the return game, averaging 11.2 yards and a touchdown on punt returns.

COACHING: C -- It's difficult to pin too much of the 49ers' problems on coach Dennis Erickson because of the way the roster has been decimated this season. Team management parted ways with seven offensive starters from a year ago, and injuries to Carter and Peterson have not helped things, either. The easiest thing to second-guess in the first half of the season was the play-calling late in the 49ers' 22-14 loss to the Jets. The 49ers were down by a point and had moved to the Jets 27-yard line. But on a second-down play, Battle fumbled a reverse handoff from Rattay, and the play lost 8 yards. The 49ers were knocked out of field-goal range and had to punt.

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