49ers Clubhouse 

"Win" Is Back In The 49er Vocabulary



September 11, 2001
 

by Rod Albuyeh
Clubhouse Staff Writer 

The 49ers won their season opener. No really, they won. And they ONLY needed sixteen points to do it. Can I re-emphasize that? Sixteen points! I like the sound of thatÖ

Offense

It took about three quarters for the 49ers offense to wake up.This offense is strikingly similar to that pass-only style of 1996 (remember Terry Kirby?).

Jeff Garcia was decent, and he looked very good at the end of the game. The only thing I didnít like was his performance at the goal-line when there were only seconds left. He twice overthrew wide-open receivers. This goes back to a point that Iíve made in the past that Garcia is not a winner. He isnít capable of taking things into his own hands when nobody else is there to step up. There are some things that you cannot coach, and performance under pressure, or clutch, is one of those things.

Garrison Hearst for the most part was rather lackluster in his brief performance today. He is definitely not the same man he was two years ago, and granted, itís unfair to expect that out of him anyway. Newly acquired rookie Kevan Barlow was even less impressive. He had five carries for nine yards with no touchdowns. The rushing statistics could have been better, but the Niners abandoned the run very early in the game, which was a critical mistake. This is clearly not the offense it used to be without Charlie Garner.

The receiving corps, though, are a different story. Terrell Owens was his usual self, hauling in the tough catches and dancing for extra yards. J.J. Stokes was borderline electrifying in the fourth quarter. It took him the first few quarters to get back in the groove of things. And after not playing at all during the exhibition games, he finally found his rhythm hauling in five catches for ninety-three yards and a TD. Tai Streets showed that all this hype from the 49ers coaching staff had some warrant to it when he pulled in a fifty-three-yarder in overtime to put Frisco in field goal range. This is certainly an upgrade from the Jerry Rice days. Sorry Jerry, but I have to admit, you held these guys back big time. After watching Jerry play for the Raiders today, I knew we made the right move by letting him go. Itís way past the manís time. He should retire while he still has some dignity left.

Defense

The banged up defensive unit didnít look half bad during the game, and they did only give up 13 points, and thatís a good thing. We were decent against the run and formidable (thatís a good thing) against the pass.

Chris Chandler was held to 171 yards and Jamal Anderson rumbled his way for a measly 86 yards with 26 carries. One thing that concerned me was how we would be able to handle a mobile quarterback. It looked as if Chris Chandler had learned a thing or two from Michael Vick because he daintily pranced around the 49er linebackers on three occasions gaining sixteen yards. Vick did the same in his limited action.Regardless, it was pleasing to see the Falcons score total in the lower category.

Congrats to this young defense. They got the job done and they didnít even have all of their starters. They can only get better with time.

Overall

Steve Mariucci is still going to have his hands full again this season with the whole rebuilding process, but it definitely looks brighter than it did last year. This defense is leaps and bounds above what it was last year, and it can only get better. The key is staying healthy. Of course, thatís the key for any team, on both sides of the field. Also, I have never believed in the runningback-by-committee approach. It hasnít worked for any team in the past very effectively. The only times Iíve seen it successful is with the Buccaneers and with the Giants. Neither team is known for a smashmouth running game. Maybe Iíve gone off on a tangent, but lets face it. A win is a win is a win.


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