2003 San Francisco 49ers season

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2003 San Francisco 49ers season
Head coach Dennis Erickson
Home field Candlestick Park
Results
Record 7–9
Division place 3rd NFC West
Playoff finish did not qualify
Uniform
49ers98 06.png
Timeline
Previous season Next season
< 2002 2004 >

The 49ers entered their 2003 season attempting to improve upon their 10–6 output from the previous year. This was the first season under head coach Dennis Erickson, whose hiring was highly controversial due to the way the coaching change was handled. The 49ers finished the season 7–9, dropping several close games.

Personnel[edit]

Staff[edit]

2003 San Francisco 49ers staff
Front office

Head coaches

Offensive coaches

Defensive coaches
  • Defensive Coordinator – Jim Mora
  • Defensive Line – Dan Quinn
  • Linebackers – Greg McMackin
  • Secondary – Brett Maxie
  • Assistant Secondary – Al Simmons
  • Defensive Assistant – Dick Tomey
  • Defensive Quality Control – Jamie Christian

Special teams coaches

  • Special Teams Coordinator – Larry Mac Duff
  • Special Teams Quality Control – Jeff Rodgers

Strength and conditioning

  • Physical Development Coordinator – Jerry Attaway
  • Strength Development Coordinator – Terrell Jones

Regular season[edit]

Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Bears 0 7 0 0 7
49ers 10 23 6 10 49

Sunday, September 7, 2003 at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

The 49ers started the season off strongly, defeating the Bears 49–7. The game was close in the second quarter, with the 49ers leading 10–7, however, the Bears' defense gave way to the 49ers' offense who scored 39 unanswered points. The Bears were also plagued with turnovers; the team lost two fumbles and quarterback Kordell Stewart tossed three interceptions. The 49ers' offensive line performed exceptionally well, as quarterback Jeff Garcia of the 49ers was not sacked during the course of the game.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Jeff Chandler 22-yard field goal

SF- Garrison Hearst 12-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Jeff Chandler kick)

2nd Quarter

CHI- Desmond Clark 3-yard pass from Kordell Stewart (Paul Edinger kick)

SF- Jeff Garcia 3-yard rush (Jeff Chandler kick)

SF- Tai Streets 16-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (kick failed)

SF- Ahmed Plummer 68-yard interception return (Jeff Chandler kick)

SF- Jeff Chandler 29-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

SF- Jeff Chandler 28-yard field goal

SF- Jeff Chandler 24-yard field goal

4th Quarter

SF- Jeff Chandler 26-yard field goal

SF- Garrison Hearst 1-yard rush (Jeff Chandler kick)

Week 2: at St. Louis Rams[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
49ers 7 3 7 7 0 24
Rams 7 0 7 10 3 27

Sunday, September 14, 2003 at Edward Jones Dome, St. Louis, Missouri

Coming off of a blowout, the 49ers played a tight match against the division rivals St. Louis Rams. It was a back-and-forth game, with the lead changing hands four times. The 49ers scored a game-tying touchdown late in the fourth quarter with a pass to Terrell Owens. In overtime, the Rams' Jeff Wilkins kicked a 28-yard (26 m) field goal to win the game, the team overcoming their four turnovers. The loss meant the 49ers started the season 1–1.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Tai Streets 16-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Jeff Chandler kick)

STL- Torry Holt 11-yard pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick)

2nd Quarter

SF- Jeff Chandler 35-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

STL- Marshall Faulk 2-yard rush (Jeff Wilkins kick)

SF- Kevan Barlow 19-yard rush (Jeff Chandler kick)

STL- Dane Looker 19-yard pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick)

STL- Jeff Wilkins 29-yard field goal

SF- Terrell Owens 13-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Jeff Chandler kick)

Overtime

STL- Jeff Wilkins 28-yard field goal

Week 3: vs. Cleveland Browns[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Browns 0 0 0 13 13
49ers 0 6 3 3 12

Sunday, September 21, 2003 at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

In a low-scoring contest, the 49ers lost in a squeaker. After a scoreless first quarter, the 49ers struck first, however, they could not get into the endzone, scoring only four field goals. However, it appeared it would be sufficient; the 49ers led 12–0 in the final quarter. This would not be the case, though, as Browns' quarterback Kelly Holcomb went on to throw two touchdown passes. Losing dropped the 49ers to 1–2.

Scoring Summary

2nd Quarter

SF- Owen Pochman 38-yard field goal

SF- Owen Pochman 44-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

SF- Owen Pochman 46-yard field goal

4th Quarter

SF- Owen Pochman 36-yard field goal

CLE- Andre Davis 2-yard pass from Kelly Holcomb (Phil Dawson kick)

CLE- Andre Davis 11-yard pass from Kelly Holcomb (pass failed)

Week 4: at Minnesota Vikings[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 0 0 7 7
Vikings 14 14 0 7 35

Sunday, September 28, 2003 at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Playing against the undefeated Vikings, the 49ers were unable to keep pace with their opponent. Scoring only in the final minutes of the fourth quarter, the 49ers were, at one point, behind 35–0. Several times the 49ers came within striking distance, however, three interceptions sealed their fate. The 49ers lost their third consecutive game and fell to 1–3.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

MIN- Randy Moss 15-yard pass from Gus Frerotte (Aaron Elling kick)

MIN- Onterrio Smith 5-yard rush (Aaron Elling kick)

2nd Quarter

MIN- Randy Moss 35-yard pass from Gus Frerotte (Aaron Elling kick)

MIN- Nate Burleson 22-yard pass from Gus Frerotte (Aaron Elling kick)

4th Quarter

MIN- Randy Moss 59-yard pass from Gus Frerotte (Aaron Elling kick)

SF- Tai Streets 37-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Owen Pochman kick)

Week 5: vs. Detroit Lions[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Lions 0 10 0 7 17
49ers 10 7 7 0 24

Sunday, October 5, 2003 at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Attempting to snap a three-game losing streak, the 49ers hosted the Detroit Lions, who were led by former head coach Steve Mariucci. A game riddled with errors, the 49ers fumbled three times (recovery each time), Jeff Garcia threw an interception, and Joey Harrington tossed two. The Lions never led, with the 49ers opening up a 17–0 lead in the second quarter. With their first win since the season opener, the 49ers moved up to 2–3.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Terrell Owens 6-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Owen Pochman kick)

SF- Owen Pochman 48-yard field goal

2nd Quarter

SF- Aaron Walker 14-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Owen Pochman kick)

DET- Jason Hanson 28-yard field goal

DET- Mikhael Ricks 6-yard pass from Joey Harrington (Jason Hanson kick)

3rd Quarter

SF- Jeff Garcia 1-yard rush (Owen Pochman kick)

4th Quarter

DET- Olandis Gary 2-yard rush (Jason Hanson kick)

Week 6: at Seattle Seahawks[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 3 13 3 19
Seahawks 7 10 0 3 20

Sunday, October 12, 2003 at Qwest Field, Seattle, Washington

For the second time in four games, the 49ers lost by a one-point differential. Playing against division rival Seahawks, the 49ers fell behind 17–0 before halftime and had to play catch up in the second half. Slowly closing the gap, the 49ers scored 19 straight points to take the lead 19–17. However, the defense was unable to stop the Seahawks' 2-minute drill as Seattle's team drove into field goal range and scored the game-winning field goal off the foot of kicker Josh Brown and on the final drive of the game, Garrison Hearst fumbled the ball away at their own 43-yard-line to seal the loss. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 2–4.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SEA- Itula Mili 15-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck (Josh Brown kick)

2nd Quarter

SEA- Josh Brown 27-yard field goal

SEA- Mack Strong 21-yard rush (Josh Brown kick)

SF- Owen Pochman 42-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

SF- Garrison Hearst 6-yard rush (Owen Pochman kick)

SF- Jeff Garcia 2-yard rush (kick failed)

4th Quarter

SF- Owen Pochman 33-yard field goal

SEA- Josh Brown 37-yard field goal

Week 7: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Buccaneers 7 0 0 0 7
49ers 7 14 0 3 24

Sunday, October 19, 2003 at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Hosting the defending Super Bowl champions, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 49ers got their third win of the season, knocking off the Buccaneers 24–7. The 49ers led the entire game and statistically dominated on both sides of the ball, both scoring often and forcing turnovers. Both teams were able to score touchdowns on passes of 75 yards (69 m). With the victory, the 49ers moved to 3–4 on the season.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Garrison Hearst 7-yard rush (Owen Pochman kick)

TB- Keenan McCardell 75-yard pass from Brad Johnson (Martin Gramatica kick)

2nd Quarter

SF- Tai Streets 14-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Owen Pochman kick)

SF- Terrell Owens 75-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Owen Pochman kick)

4th Quarter

SF- Owen Pochman 27-yard field goal

Week 8: at Arizona Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
49ers 6 0 0 7 0 13
Cardinals 7 3 3 0 3 16

at Sun Devil Stadium, Tempe, Arizona

Sunday, October 26, 2003

In an attempt to win their second-straight game for the first time this season, the 49ers traveled to Arizona to play against their division rival, the Cardinals. The game was close throughout, being tied up in the fourth quarter off a one-yard fumble return for a touchdown. However, it was decided in Arizona's favor in overtime with a 39-yard (36 m) field goal. In that game, kicker Owen Pochman missed two field goals and an extra point, and would be replaced by Todd Peterson for the rest of the season. With the loss, the 49ers instead of improving to .500, they dropped to 3–5.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Jeff Garcia 21-yard rush (pass failed)

AZ- Jeff Blake 1-yard rush (Tim Duncan kick)

2nd Quarter

AZ- Tim Duncan 53-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

AZ- Tim Duncan 20-yard field goal

4th Quarter

SF- Kwame Harris 1-yard fumble return (Owen Pochman kick)

Overtime

AZ- Tim Duncan 39-yard field goal

Week 9: vs. St. Louis Rams[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Rams 3 0 0 7 10
49ers 14 10 6 0 30

At San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Sunday,November 2, 2003

Playing their second straight game against a division rival, the 49ers hosted the St. Louis Rams. The 49ers kick returner Cedrick Wilson returned the opening kick 95 yards (87 m) for a touchdown and the 49ers would not relinquish their lead. The 49ers offense became potent, opening up a 30–3 lead in the third quarter. The win brought the 49ers up to 4–5 heading into their bye week.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Cedrick Wilson 95-yard kickoff return (Todd Peterson kick)

STL- Jeff Wilkins 39-yard field goal

SF- Terrell Owens 5-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Todd Peterson kick)

2nd Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 44-yard field goal

SF- Brandon Lloyd 27-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Todd Peterson kick)

3rd Quarter

SF- Tai Streets 5-yard pass from Tim Rattay (kick failed)

4th Quarter

STL- Torry Holt 41-yard pass from Marc Bulger (Jeff Wilkins kick)

Week 11: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Steelers 0 0 7 7 14
49ers 7 3 14 6 30

At San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Monday, November 17, 2003

Coming off their bye, the 49ers strung together their second straight victory, this time over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 49ers shut out the Steelers in the first half, leading 10–0 at halftime. The Steelers offense came together in the second half to put some points on the board, statistically leading the 49ers, however it wasn't enough to close the gap. The 49ers' victory brought them to 5–5.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Terrell Owens 61-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Todd Peterson kick)

2nd Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 32-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

PIT- Jerome Bettis 1-yard rush (Jeff Reed kick)

SF- Kevan Barlow 78-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

SF- Fred Beasley 28-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Todd Peterson kick)

4th Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 22-yard field goal

SF- Todd Peterson 44-yard field goal

PIT- Antwaan Randle El 32-yard pass from Tommy Maddox (Jeff Reed kick)

Week 12: at Green Bay Packers[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 3 7 0 10
Packers 7 10 0 3 20

At Lambeau Field, Green Bay, Wisconsin

Sunday, November 23, 2003

After completing their first two-game win streak of the season, the 49ers traveled to their conference rival, the Green Bay Packers in Week 12. The Packers dominated on both sides of the ball, leading 17–3 at the half. Despite forcing Brett Favre into throwing three interceptions, the 49ers offense could only manage 192 total yards, a majority coming off the performance of their two star players, Garrison Hearst and Terrell Owens. Losing dropped the 49ers back under .500, at 5–6.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

GB- Javon Walker 66-yard pass from Brett Favre (Ryan Longwell kick)

2nd Quarter

GB- Robert Ferguson 16-yard pass from Brett Favre (Ryan Longwell kick)

SF- Todd Peterson 24-yard field goal

GB- Ryan Longwell 38-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

SF- Terrell Owens 24-yard pass from Tim Rattay (Todd Peterson kick)

4th Quarter

GB- Ryan Longwell 37-yard field goal

Week 13: at Baltimore Ravens[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 3 3 0 0 6
Ravens 7 17 0 20 44

at M&T Bank Stadium, Baltimore, Maryland

Sunday, November 30, 2003

The 49ers were dismantled by the Ravens easily, 44–6, with the 49ers limited to only two field goals. The 49ers were plagued with turnovers, quarterback Jeff Garcia throwing four interceptions, one of which was returned 29 yards (27 m) for a touchdown by Ray Lewis. With the loss, the 49ers fell to 5–7, including six losses on the road.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

BAL- Jamal Lewis 6-yard rush (Matt Stover kick)

SF- Todd Peterson 48-yard field goal

2nd Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 40-yard field goal

BAL- Matt Stover 28-yard field goal

BAL- Marcus Robinson 38-yard pass from Anthony Wright (Matt Stover kick)

BAL- Ray Lewis 29-yard interception return (Matt Stover kick)

4th Quarter

BAL- Matt Stover 47-yard field goal

BAL- Terry Jones 6-yard pass from Anthony Wright (Matt Stover kick)

BAL- Matt Stover 41-yard field goal

BAL- Musa Smith 2-yard rush (Matt Stover kick)

Week 14: vs. Arizona Cardinals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Cardinals 0 0 7 7 14
49ers 14 20 9 7 50

at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Sunday, December 7, 2003

After an embarrassing loss, the 49ers regrouped to beat division rival, the Arizona Cardinals 50–14. The 49ers' offense dominated throughout the game, at one point leading 36–0 and rolling up nearly 500 yards (460 m) of total offense. A rare safety was also scored, just after halftime. The defense also performed well, forcing two fumbles. With the win, the 49ers climbed to 6–7 on the season.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Jeff Garcia 3-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

SF- Terrell Owens 1-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

2nd Quarter

SF- Tai Streets 18-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

SF- Cedrick Wilson 27-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (kick failed)

SF- Terrell Owens 2-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

3rd Quarter

SF- Safety

AZ- James Hodgins 3-yard pass from Josh McCown (Neil Rackers kick)

SF- Jeff Garcia 4-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

4th Quarter

SF- Kevan Barlow 46-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

AZ- Anquan Boldin 16-yard pass from Josh McCown (Neil Rackers kick)

Week 15: at Cincinnati Bengals[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
49ers 0 17 0 21 38
Bengals 7 14 10 10 41

at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, December 14, 2003

A high-scoring shootout, the 49ers were slightly outscored by the Bengals, 41–38. The 49ers topped 500 yards (460 m) of total offense, but surprisingly never led in this close game. This can be partially attributed to their four fumbles, three of which were lost to the Bengals. One fumble was returned 10 yards (9.1 m) for a touchdown by Bengals' Kevin Hardy. The loss meant the 49ers fell to 6–8. Of the 49ers' season, this was the 13th time in 14 games in which the home team won (including the last 11 games), the home team outscoring the visitor 422–199 so far this season.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

CIN- Chad Johnson 10-yard pass from Jon Kitna (Shayne Graham kick)

2nd Quarter

CIN- Kevin Hardy 10-yard fumble return (Shayne Graham kick)

SF- Terrell Owens 58-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

SF- Tai Streets 41-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

CIN- Peter Warrick 31-yard pass from Jon Kitna (Shayne Graham kick)

SF- Todd Peterson 23-yard field goal

3rd Quarter

CIN- Rudi Johnson 49-yard rush (Shayne Graham kick)

CIN- Shayne Graham 34-yard field goal

4th Quarter

SF- Jeff Garcia 6-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

CIN- Shayne Graham 30-yard field goal

SF- Kevan Barlow 1-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

CIN- Rudi Johnson 3-yard rush (Shayne Graham kick)

SF- Kevan Barlow 3-yard rush (Todd Peterson kick)

Week 16: at Philadelphia Eagles[edit]

1 2 3 4 OT Total
49ers 7 7 3 11 3 31
Eagles 0 14 7 7 0 28

at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Sunday, December 21, 2003

Another squeaker, this game marked the sixth time this season the 49ers played a game that was decided three points or less, and the only one of those six in which the 49ers walked away with a victory. The 49ers outgained the Eagles, 414 to 293, and dominated in time of possession, but they failed to put away the Eagles in regulation due largely to three special teams miscues by punter Bill LaFleur: a fumbled hold on a first-quarter field goal attempt, a punt returned 81 yards for a touchdown by Brian Westbrook, and an 8-yard punt that set up an Eagles touchdown. But the 49ers were able to win when kicker Todd Peterson from 22 yards (20 m) out during overtime. With the victory, the 49ers moved up to 7–8.

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter

SF- Kevan Barlow 15-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

2nd Quarter

PHI- Duce Staley 7-yard rush (David Akers kick)

PHI- Duce Staley 1-yard rush (David Akers kick)

SF- Brandon Lloyd 33-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

3rd Quarter

PHI- Brian Westbrook 81-yard punt return (David Akers kick)

SF- Todd Peterson 33-yard field goal

4th Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 25-yard field goal

SF- Kevan Barlow 1-yard rush (Brandon Lloyd pass from Jeff Garcia)

PHI- Todd Pinkston 19-yard pass from Donovan McNabb (David Akers kick)

Overtime

SF- Todd Peterson 22-yard field goal

Week 17: vs. Seattle Seahawks[edit]

1 2 3 4 Total
Seahawks 0 14 7 3 24
49ers 0 14 3 0 17

at San Francisco Stadium at Candlestick Point, San Francisco, California

Saturday, December 27, 2003

The last game of the season, the 49ers hosted division rival Seattle Seahawks. The game was tied at the end of the first quarter and again at halftime, but the 49ers were unable to keep in during the second half, losing 24–17. With the loss, the 49ers clinched a losing season, at 7–9, after winning the division the previous year.

Scoring Summary

2nd Quarter

SF- Jed Weaver 18-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

SF- Cedrick Wilson 14-yard pass from Jeff Garcia (Todd Peterson kick)

SEA- Alex Bannister 31-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck (Josh Brown kick)

SEA- Shaun Alexander 3-yard rush (Josh Brown kick)

3rd Quarter

SF- Todd Peterson 38-yard field goal

SEA- Koren Robinson 30-yard pass from Matt Hasselbeck (Josh Brown kick)

SEA- Josh Brown 33-yard field goal

Standings[edit]

NFC West
W L T PCT DIV CONF PF PA STK
(2) St. Louis Rams 12 4 0 .750 4–2 8–4 447 328 L1
(5) Seattle Seahawks 10 6 0 .625 5–1 8–4 404 327 W2
San Francisco 49ers 7 9 0 .438 2–4 6–6 384 337 L1
Arizona Cardinals 4 12 0 .250 1–5 3–9 225 452 W1