49ers heartbroken over what could have been

Oct 13, 2003 at 12:00 AM0


A record of 3-3 certainly would have looked a lot better than 2-4 on Monday morning. The 49ers have lost 3 of their 4 regular season losses by a total of 5 points. That means they are just 8 points away from a 5-1 record. That's the equivalent of one touchdown and two-point conversion. But excuses aside, the 49ers somehow found another way to loose on Sunday night.

Honestly, the 49ers probably were not given much credit going into Seahawks Stadium and by the end of the first half, it looked like the 49ers would be on the short end of a blowout again with the score 17-0. But you have to give the team credit for whatever happened at halftime because this team came out and rolled over their division opponent scoring 19 unanswered points. However, that was not enough as Seahawks kicker Josh Brown hit a late field goal giving Seattle the 20-19 win.

"We came out and played our rear ends off in the second half," Erickson said. "We miss an extra point and it becomes a one-point game. And that basically is what happened. This is a very disappointing loss as hard as we fought to come back."

It was a hard fought comeback with the 49ers scoring on three of their first four possessions in the second half. The 49ers will hopefully take their momentum into their next game against Tampa Bay at home. Being optimistic is one thing. But realistically, they will need a near perfect game to even stay in it against the Buccaneers. They will be heavily outmatched in that one.

Plenty of blame to throw around

There are plenty of places disheartened fans can place the blame. Let's start with media target number one and instigator of last season's "Sharpie-gate"...Terrell Owens. Everyone has been all over this guy for his public outbursts and finger pointing. Getting your team fired up is one thing, placing the blame on everyone else except yourself is poor sportsmanship.

Owens dropped three catchable and potentially big play passes Sunday night, not only frustrating teammates and fans, but apparently frustrating himself.

Not only that, but the expression on Erickson's face was not one of excitement after the drops.

There is no argument that Owens is one of the best in the game. However, in his own words, the display seen Sunday night was "heartless." Both Tai Streets and Cedrick Wilson had more of a presence on the field against the Seahawks.

Garcia seems to be on Owens' side for the moment. "There's not any individual that created the outcome of the game. I'm going to continue to throw the ball to T.O., and more often than not, he's going to make those plays" said Garcia.

The blame for Sunday's loss certainly can't be placed on the shoulders of quarterback Jeff Garcia, who also has been criticized this season for his uncharacteristically poor play. That offensive line in front of him was in shambles and was probably healthy for about one play before the injury bug started striking again.

In the first half, Garcia spent more time being plastered onto the turf than searching for open receivers. The offensive line could not stop anything in Seahawks defensive coach Ray Rhodes' arsenal. Knowing about the 49ers offensive line injuries, he brought in everything but the kitchen sink. Rhodes is relentless when he observes a team's weaknesses.

Jeff Garcia really never had a chance until a few adjustments were made at the half.

Which kicker's botched attempt was the bigger factor in the loss to the Seahawks? Was it Owen Pochman's missed field goal that was caught by the heavy wind in the first quarter and cost the team 3 points? Or was it the extra point attempt in the second half that Bill Lafleur botched which ultimately would have been the game tying point?

Garrison Hearst played hard all night rushing for 62 yards on 16 carries and scoring a touchdown. However, it was his last carry that ended what could have been the 49ers game winning drive. Near midfield, veteran Seattle linebacker Chad Brown stripped the ball out of Hearst's hands and rookie Seattle safety Ken Hamlin pounced on it.

On the sidelines, Hearst was very emotional after the fumble and a number of teammates came up to him to offer their support.

Even after Seahawks kicker Josh Brown hit the go ahead field goal with 3:04 left in the game, Seattle had to be nervous since the 49ers had all the momentum on their side and were driving the ball pretty well before Hearst's fumble.

"You're always concerned about drops, balls thrown badly, sacks, missed extra points," Erickson said. "With all of those things together, you end up losing football games."  

There were a lot of factors in Sunday's loss. You throw stupid penalties into the mix and that makes a win even tougher. But it was good to finally see the 49ers offense wake up in the second half. However with so many teams playing better, this was a must win for the 49ers. Unless the Seahawks and Rams take a nosedive and the 49ers turn things around in a hurry, this season is a couple of losses away from being over.

Once around the league

NFC West: The Seattle Seahawks appear to be the major player in this division and may run away with it if the St. Louis Rams and San Francisco 49ers do not turn things around. Seattle has really turned themselves around with a well-coached team, and looking at the rest of their schedule, they have to be licking their chomps.

NFC South: Even if Atlanta quarterback Michael Vick returns soon, their season may already be lost. They are looking up from a 1-4 record at a 5-0 Carolina Panthers team who is winning games with monstrous defensive play and an offense that looks ready to score just enough points to win. Oh, and let's not forget that the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers are trailing right behind them.

NFC North: With the Minnesota Vikings playing so well and still remaining undefeated, the Green Bay Packers have to be wondering if they will even make the playoffs. A heart breaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime on Sunday when they led by 17 in the forth quarter was disheartening for the team. It was their second loss at Lambeau Field this season. And it won't get any easier considering their next four opponents are St. Louis, Minnesota, Philadelphia, and Tampa Bay.

NFC East: All the talk in this division has to be surrounding the Dallas Cowboys. Where did these guys come from? The once dominant franchise may be returning to its old ways. Coach Bill Parcells has certainly done an outstanding job leading a mediocre team to a 4-1 record. Everyone predicted Philadelphia to run away with the East this season. With the loss to Dallas on Sunday, they are tied for last place in the division.

AFC West: With the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos improving so much compared to last season, the Oakland Raiders' Super Bowl hopes should be pretty much over. They may not even make it to the playoffs. Age has finally caught up with them and last year may have realistically been their last shot for a while. At 6-0, the Chiefs look like the favorite in the AFC.

AFC South: Despite a loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the Indianapolis Colts are the team to beat in the AFC South. The only team that has a chance of coming close is the one lead by quarterback Steve McNair. However, the Titans may be no match for the Colts. It could be both Indianapolis and Kansas City with bye weeks come January and what a heavy weight AFC Championship game that would be.

AFC North: This one is still up for grabs with Baltimore, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh all having mediocre seasons so far. The team that steps it up to the next level will win the race. While the Pittsburgh Steelers appears to be imploding after a good start, the Cleveland Browns have won 3 or their last four against San Francisco, Pittsburgh, and Oakland. But that loss to the Cincinnati Bengals has to make you wonder.

AFC East: The Buffalo Bills were the talk of the town after easily winning their first two games. But their only weakness on offense during those two wins has really hurt them as they have gone 1-3 since then. Their lack of an even offense of passing and running may seal their fate, especially if Bledsoe struggles. Two of their next 3 games are against Kansas City and Dallas. One has to wonder if they have enough in their tank to compete with Miami and a better New England team than the one they beat up on during week one.
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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