Contra Costa Times

Then and now
January 03, 2003
Here's a look at what's transpired since the 49ers and Giants kicked off the season:

Best coaching move Steve Mariucci keeping Tai Streets in the lineup as the No. 2 receiver in place of an unproductive J.J. Stokes, who missed three games after an Oct. 6 knee injury. Coach Jim Fassel taking over the play-calling duties after a 3-4 start and guiding the Giants to a 7-2 finish.

Most detrimental injury Free safety Zack Bronson breaking his left foot Oct. 14 at Seattle, resulting in struggles by the secondary, especially on third down. Wide receiver Ike Hilliard caught a pass in 69 straight games before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury against Philadelphia on Oct. 28.

Biggest upset Beating the host Raiders 23-20 in overtime on Nov. 3. The Raiders went on to become the AFC's No. 1 seed. Beating the visiting Eagles 10-7 in overtime Saturday. Philadelphia is the NFC's No. 1 seed.

Biggest stinker Getting blown out at home by the Eagles 38-17 on "Monday Night Football" on Nov. 25. Losing to the expansion Houston Texans 16-14 on Nov. 24.

Anti-gay remark Running back Garrison Hearst telling the Fresno Bee on Oct. 27 that he "didn't want any faggots on my team." Tight end Jeremy Shockey, on the Howard Stern radio show, saying he "probably wouldn't, you know, stand for it" if he knew he had a gay teammate in college.

Drama kings Wide receiver Terrell Owens pulling a Sharpie from his sock and autographing the ball he caught for a game-winning TD at Seattle. Shockey never lacks for demonstrative actions on and off the field.

Selected to Pro Bowl QB Jeff Garcia, WR Terrell Owens, C Jeremy Newberry, RG Ron Stone, DT Bryant Young, LB Julian Peterson Shockey, DE Michael Strahan

Should have made Pro Bowl FB Fred Beasley, SS Tony Parrish. Beasley arguably is the league's premier lead blocker. Parrish has a team-high seven interceptions and was voted the team's inspirational leader. WR Amani Toomer, RB Tiki Barber. Toomer, a De La Salle High School graduate, enjoyed a career year, and his 1,343 yards receiving were more than three of the four receivers selected to represent the NFC. Barber's 1,984 all-purpose yards led the NFC.

Best effort by a QB Garcia passing for 282 yards and two TDs, and running 10 times for 46 yards vs. the Raiders. Kerry Collins registering a perfect efficiency rating of 158.3 in a Dec. 22 win at Indianapolis.

Top rookie OG Eric Heitmann. The seventh-round draft pick has filled in well for Dave Fiore, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Sept. 15. Shockey. Emotional rookie made Pro Bowl; his 67 receptions broke Mark Bavaro's single-season team record by a tight end.

Hard luck for running backs Hearst fumbling twice in the fourth quarter of Monday's regular-season finale and finishing 28 yards shy of the 1,000-yard rushing mark. Barber, with 1,387 yards, losing the NFC rushing title by 1 yard to New Orleans' Deuce McAllister.

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