Alert Follow us at @49erswz until Twitter fixes the issues with our official account.

Defensive Gameplan

Dec 25, 2001 at 12:00 AM


The most significant sign of the 49ers emergence as a complete football game came from Steve Mariucci moments before the kickoff on Sunday. Asked by a sideline reporter about the Jeff Garcia’s injury, Mariucci stated that the 49ers would play conservative on offense.

“This will be a low scoring game,” he said.

That statement would never have been uttered last year or even early this year. You can only play conservative on offense if you know that your defense will control the other team. In so many words, what Mariucci was really saying was, “Our defense will have to win this game for us.”

That’s exactly what happened Sunday, no more so than on the goal line stand in the fourth quarter that denied the Eagles the endzone despite seven plays from inside the three-yard line. Derek Smith’s interception not only denied Philadelphia a chip shot field goal, but created the first major momentum swing of a low scoring, prodding game. The offense rode that momentum 80 yards to the game’s first touchdown – courtesy of two big plays from Terrell Owens and Jeff Garcia.

Jeff Garcia performance was nothing short of courageous – even more so if John Madden’s contention (that Garcia was playing with a cracked rib, not torn rib cartilage) is true. The offense was very conservative early, but it made enough plays to win. Hearst and Barlow had another solid effort.

Mariucci Rift
It sounds like the enmity between Steve Mariucci and Terry Donahue is real, although Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reported that it shouldn’t lead to Mooch splitting town before his contract. Mariucci desires more power over personnel matters – like his former coaching partner in Green Bay, Andy Reid. He is also a little bitter over the lack of appreciation and praise from the 49ers’ brass for the teams’ suprising playoff run this year. However, Mariucci is very attached to this team, and the feeling is that he has every intention of riding out this rebuilding project. Hopefully, he will.

Injury Front
Besides Jeff Garcia’s entire right side, the 49ers have a few more injuries to address in the final two games. Terrell Owens is having foot problems, Fred Beasley has a broken hand, and Chike Okeafor has a broken leg. John Engelberger is also banged up.

There is a good chance that the 49ers may rest all of them the next two games. Look at it this way: even without the injured starters, the 49ers should beat Dallas. That would leave them 12-3. Then, the worst the 49ers could finish would be 12-4. The NFC West crown is out of reach – the Rams would have to lose both of their remaining games against inferior teams. Won’t happen. Of the wildcard teams, only Green Bay could match a 12-4 record. And to do so, they would have to win both of their remaining games against Minnesota and the N.Y. Giants. Could they do it? Sure. But I’d rather play at Green Bay with a fully healthy team than at Candlestick with a banged up one. Garcia is so banged up right now that he is playing at less than 50 percent, and we need him healthy to have any chance of making a playoff run.

If the news that Garcia has a cracked rib is true, it is disheartening, because that will not be 100 percent by January 13, no matter what Garcia does the next two games. But it certainly will not help to expose him to any more hits before the first playoff game.

I say: rest the team for the next two weeks, and hope that we have enough left to beat Dallas. We should.
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.


0 Comments

  • No Comments

Facebook Comments



More San Francisco 49ers News



PFF names 49ers' Verrett the Defensive Player of the Week; McGlinchey, Tomlinson earn Team of the Week honors

By David Bonilla
Oct 22, 2020

Pro Football Focus handed out its weekly awards and named San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett the Defensive Player of the Week for his performance on Sunday night against the Los Angeles Rams. 🏆 Anthony Firkser🏆 Jason Verrett🏆 Justin JeffersonPFF's Top Performers from Week 6 🥇 pic.twitter.com/hQYXkAQGbN— PFF (@PFF) October 20,

Read the Full Article


NFC West news: Seahawks trade for Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap

By David Bonilla
Oct 28, 2020

The Seattle Seahawks have traded for Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. The move will become official after 1 p.m. PT. Bengals traded DE Carlos Dunlap to the Seahawks, source tells ESPN. Will be official after 4 pm.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 28, 2020 The

Read the Full Article


Film From the Field House: How the 49ers' Defensive Line Can Continue to Generate Victories

By Bret Rumbeck
Oct 24, 2020

This year has given the San Francisco 49ers' defense a series of body blows. It's suffered season-ending injuries to star players, causing the defensive roster to become as thin as wet tissue paper. But defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has found a way to scrape together wins, holding the Los Angeles Rams to under 200 yards passing and just over 100 yards rushing. The secret to Saleh's success starts with a stout, powerful, and speedy defensive line. Defensive line play is not a factory line counting output numbers. If a star player isn't racking up tackles and sacks, the Twitterverse might shout that the player isn't producing or isn't worth the money. Great defensive line play is not all about statistics and is often

Read the Full Article

Featured

More Featured Stories

More by Bradford Seaman

All Articles by Bradford Seaman

More Articles

All Articles
Share 49erswebzone