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49ers Rout Bills 35-0
Nothing good in worst Bills loss in 30 years.
by Steve Saslow
December 3, 2001

Alex Van PeltThe thump you here is the Bills hitting rock bottom. The Bills flew across the country just to get annihilated by the San Francisco 49ers 35-0. The shutout is the first against the Bills since Pittsburgh beat the Bills on a Monday night in 1993. It is also the worst shutout loss by the Bills since 1971 when they lost 43-0 to Baltimore. The Bills fall to 1-10 and it is their worst start since 1984, as the team appeared to finally quit tonight.

The 49ers dominated every aspect of this football game. They racked up 409 yards in total offense while the Bills could just muster 191 yards and most of that was in garbage time at the end of the half and the end of the game. Alex Van Pelt reverted back to his few starts in 1997 as he threw four interceptions and struggled badly in the winds by the bay in an absolutely atrocious outing. The only thing worse than the Bills passing game was the running game that gained a paltry 29 yards for the whole game. Nine of those yards came on the Bills first two runs. The final score could have actually been much worse.

The Niners had a 14-0 halftime lead but would have had more but kicker Jose Cortez missed a field goal on the Niners first drive and had one blocked on their last drive of the first half that gave the Bills one of their only scoring chances. New kicker Shayne Graham missed badly from 49 yards out on the last play of the half. In between the field goal missed the Niners scored twice in the second quarter. Comeback player of the year shoo-in Garrison Hearst had a one yard run on way to his 124 yards rushing on the game. Tai Streets beat Travares Tillman for a 23 yard score on third down giving the Niners the two touchdown lead.

Things got worse in the second half as the Bills turned it over on downs. The defense then came up with a stand and got the ball back on downs. At times the defense did make big plays to keep the final score from getting into the 40s or 50s. They stopped San Francisco on both 4th down attempts. Since the Bills couldn't move the ball offensively except during garbage time the defense was on the field for 39:45. They wore down and the Niners ran right up the middle very well in the fourth quarter as they finished with a whopping 230 yards on the ground.

Jeff Garcia had a lot of success passing against the Bills and was very sharp with his throws. The Bills blitzed more in this game then they have recently and hit Garcia on many occasions knocking him groggy at least once. It didn't matter he continued to throw with pin point precision. He would complete passes to receivers that were pretty well covered on most occasions. Garcia hit Terrell Owens with a touchdown pass late in the third quarter to put the game away at 21-0. Two fourth quarter touchdown runs by Fred Beasley and Paul Smith put the finishing touches on this rout.

Normally we would analyze why they lost but it was total destruction by the 49ers. There is nothing to analyze. The team ran for the bus in the second half and had stupid penalties while every bounce still appeared to go San Francisco's way. It wouldn't have mattered if 50 bounces went the Bills way though they still would have lost as they were totally outclassed and destroyed by a very talented team. As a result of the rout there aren't many gameballs to give out but plenty of goats to go around, here are our gameballs and goats:

  • Larry Centers - Led the team in receiving and rushing yards in this game. Unfortunately that only totaled to 70 yards mostly in garbage time.
  • Brian Moorman - Rebounded from poor punt efforts in recent weeks. Averaged 47.2 yards on four punts. He handled the tricky winds well.

  • Goats
  • Alex Van Pelt - He was awful in the loss. He struggled all day with the winds and was off the mark on many of his passes. It was a hard fall back down to earth.
  • Travis Henry - Struggled running early and was taken out of the gameplan as the Bills fell way behind.
  • Peerless Price - Was a non factor and dropped one pass.
  • Defensive Backs - They gave up big chunks of yardage all game long. When your two starting cornerbacks are among the team lead in tackles for a game, you know they had a long day.
  • Pat Williams - Many of the 230 rushing yards came right up the middle.
  • Gregg Williams - The team self destructed when the game was going bad. Too many stupid penalties and miscommunications between Van Pelt and his receivers. Tried blitzing more but the 49ers always seemed to be ahead of the Bills as far as gameplanning goes.
  • Brandon Spoon - He was the man in the middle that gave up many big running plays by Garrison Hearst and company.

  • Player Of The Week
  • Larry Centers - He was his usual steady self as he continues to be one of the lone bright spots of the lost season for the Bills.

  • Positional Breakdown and Grades Gamebook - Complete stats including play by play
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