Lions the Perfect Hangover Cure

Nov 7, 2001 at 12:00 AM


The Lions were the perfect team for the 49ers to play after last week’s loss. Jeff Garcia is banged up, Terrell Owens is sulking (again), and the team is still reeling from the Bears’ come-from-behind win. You had to expect them to look a little ragged on Sunday, and they did. They fumbled three times, had two passes picked off, and again got off to a slow start to trail at halftime. The Lions are a dreadful football team, so to have the game go down to the wire against Detroit is not very inspiring. But a win is a win, and it should ease the shellshock from Chicago and help the 49ers focus on a big game next Sunday vs. the Saints.

The pass rush responded with their best game of the season, and it’s no coincidence that the Lions gained only 131 yards. Mora has been criticized for perhaps being too conservative on defense, but the 49ers were far more creative on Sunday. Mora said that the 49ers used an extra rusher on 85 percent of the snaps. Julian Peterson, one guy who needs to get it going in the pass rush department, had a great sack in the third quarter, using fine leverage and collapsing the pocket from the left. This could very well be a mirage, however, as the Lions have terrible pass protection.

Offensively, Garrison Hearst looks to be all the way back. There were also six reported JJ Stokes sightings. The 49ers continued their trend of practically ignoring Owens in the first half, then throwing the ball to him in the second. I still don’t see why we can’t throw him the ball 5-to-6 times in each half, but the 49ers obviously got him the ball enough (9 catches, 2 scores).

Of course, the downside is that Owens is acting up again off the field. I sometimes wonder when people will stop taking Terrell Owens' complaints seriously. His criticism of Mariucci last week was not only ridiculous, but classless. Owens is the one who blew it by dropping Garcia's perfect pass right into Mike Brown's hands for the winning TD. Terrell is also the one who dropped four passes (three of which were very costly) in the Rams game. Terrell needs to do his team - and himself - a favor and just shut his mouth. A few more reflections on Owens, for those who consider it blasphemy to criticize a 49er:

Len Pasqurelli, ESPN: Mornhinweg can forget about being shown any sympathy from Niners coach Steve Mariucci, particularly in light of the latest insipid remarks from Terrell Owens. The 49ers star wideout hinted this week that Mariucci pulled back in his playcalling last week in the second half at Chicago, citing the long friendship between "Mooch" and Bears coach Dick Jauron. Somebody, please hit the "mute" button on Owens, before he really damages himself with his mouth.

Mark Purdy, San Jose Mercury News: Mariucci called Owens' contention "maybe the most utterly ridiculous statement I've ever read and completely void of any deep thought.''  If anything, Mariucci understated the case. For any player to suggest an NFL coach would pull punches and risk losing his job is more pathetic than . . . well, than the Detroit Lions' offense. Owens' teammates react to this with intriguing shrugs. They seem to realize he is basically a naive knucklehead. They also realize that, as long as they don't take Owens too seriously, he can't hurt the team.

Joe Theisman, ESPN: What Terrell Owens said - criticizing Mariucci's play-calling in the 49ers' overtime loss last week to the Bears - was totally out of line and totally ridiculous. Especially when you consider that Owens set an NFL single-game record with 20 catches last season - and who was calling the plays then? That's right, Mariucci. Based on his remarks, it would appear that Owens has absolutely no clue what's going on. The term "space cadet" would fit him well. Maybe he has other problems -- I don't know. I'm just glad it's not me having to deal with him.

Pro Football Weekly: Has Owens become a cancer on one of the league’s most promising young teams? The way we hear it, not yet. Several team members praised Mariucci for the way he handled the team’s latest internal crisis involving Owens, and it would seem that the head coach’s control of the team is pretty solid at the moment. At the same time, though, the rift that already existed between Mariucci and Owens has definitely grown wider. And there is no guarantee at all that Owens, a loose cannon if there ever was one, is done saying and doing stupid things that continue to make him easily one of the league’s most enigmatic players.  

On to the Saints
I am pretty shocked at the score from Sunday night’s game. The Saints’ offense was completely shut down by the same Jets defense that we clobbered in our Monday Night matchup. Clearly, Aaron Brooks must be made to throw the ball. His completion percentage is around 50 percent and he’s been sacked 24 times. He can definitely be rattled. The Jets also shut down Ricky Watters, which surprised me since the Jets do not have a very big defensive line. On the other side, the Jets ran all over the Saints, which really surprised me. We have to be encouraged by the way the Jets dominated that game.
The views within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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