Terrell Owens cost the 49ers this game, period. Before Owens goes off and does another dance, before he goes off and talks about how the 49ers have been 'disrespecting him’ (always an outrageous accusation from a millionaire football player), he might want to watch some tapes like the one from Sunday. His drops turned one first down into a Rams possession, a touchdown into a field goal, and another first down into a gimmee field goal. The Rams scored 20 of their 30 points on drives following Owens’ drops.

Terrell did sit in front of his locker and stare at the wall for 45 minutes after the game, which I guess is his way of telling the media that he was angry.

What makes Owens’ drops so painful is that the 49ers showed so much promise in every other aspect of their game. They showed in the second quarter that by holding onto the football, they could keep the Rams offense off the field and their defense fresh. This plan goes for naught when receivers drop third down passes and give the Rams the ball.

Kevan Barlow started to run with confidence, showing some burst and vision. He was hitting the hole decisively. His efforts were cut short by Owens’ drops – who knows what he would have done with some more snaps. The defense, brought to life in the second quarter, was faced with one too many Rams’ drives in the third quarter. Ahmed Plummer had some great pass breakups and an interception. Jason Webster broke up a goal line pass to force a field goal and saved another touchdown when he forced Isaac Bruce’s fumble. The front four managed to apply some pressure despite the fact that the 49ers never blitzed. The special teams had some great returns. Cortez kicked a 51-yard field goal, looked very confident, and added some deep kickoffs.

The 49ers did so much right, that the four drives that Owens ended with his drops were nothing short of critical. The 49ers would be 2-0 with a momentum-driving victory over St. Louis with those catches. Owens has no one but himself to blame.

We’ve seen this before from Owens. I don’t know what you do to stop it – more pass drills, more focus, whatever – but it has to stop, because Owens has a tendency to do it in big games.

Other Observations - Same Old Stokes
J.J. Stokes did not help. After a performance that gave us some hope last week vs. Atlanta, Stokes pulled another one of his notorious disappearing acts. With the Rams’ defense keyed on Owens all day, Stokes caught one pass for five yards and dropped two first down passes. The Rams defense did not show much respect for Stokes – and he earned none Sunday…Can somebody tell me why Tai Streets was never thrown to? We need to get him more involved…Eric Johnson did contribute a dropped pass, but I think we have ourselves a tight end. I liked what I saw. With some more work and experience, he could end up being a real steal…John Milem is becoming the Loch Ness Monster of the 49ers: some people claim to have seen him, but most don’t believe he exists…With the way the 49ers played against the Rams, a Super Bowl contender, we have a much better idea of what kind of 49ers team this is. They’re pretty darn good. They may be better than 8-8, and with the way the NFC Central had faltered, 9-7 may be worthy of a playoff birth. The 49ers play New Orleans on November 11. Between then, we have the Jets (who have disappointed so far this year), Carolina, Atlanta again, Chicago, and Detroit. Could we be 6-1?…Believe it or not, but I think the toughest game out of that bunch may be against the Bears. Their defense has looked very good. Urlacher is a stud, and I also like safety Mike Brown and linebacker Roosevelt Colvin. End Phillip Daniels had two sacks vs Minnesota. Their beefy tackles, Ted Washington and Trevor Pryce, are playing way better than I thought they would. They are doing a great job taking on blocks, which has allowed Urlacher, Colvin, and Warrick Holdman to make a lot of plays. They’re a very solid linebacking crew. Even R. Double-Flop McQuarters is covering people. Jim Miller is also an underrated signal caller – he’ll open that offense up. They have the weapons – their wide receiving crew (Marcus Robinson, David Terrell, Marty Booker, and Dez White) is talented and deep, and they have two legitimate backs in James Allen and Anthony Thomas. I like what I see in Chi-town.