The 49ers, who for almost a quarter century have led the league
in mesmerizing spirals on long touchdown passes captured by NFL
Films, had some new heroes worth watching on Sunday: Kwame
Harris, Kyle Kosier, Jeremy Newberry, Ron Stone and Scott Gragg.
Those five offensive linemen paved the way for 212 rushing yards
as San Francisco routed the Super Bowl champion Buccaneers, 24-7.
First-year Niners coach Dennis Erickson, who called the win over
Tampa Bay the biggest in his five seasons as an NFL head coach,
finds the run more to his liking than predecessor Steve Mariucci
did and has had to make the shift in philosophy partly out of
necessity. Quarterback Jeff Garcia hasn't been the same player he
was the last three years. He's getting hit more, and he has been
more inaccurate than usual. He still has a great weapon in
Terrell Owens, but the big-play wideout has had the dropsies this
year. (He dropped two passes on Sunday.)
Against the Bucs, Garrison Hearst rushed for 117 yards on 20
carries and Kevan Barlow added 75 yards on 15 attempts. Look for
the 49ers (3-4) to continue to rely on the run as they try to
climb back into the NFC West race with the Seahawks (5-1) and the
Rams (4-2). "With the running game," says Newberry, "you've got
to stay with it. When we stay with it, like we did today, we're a
very good team."