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San Francisco 49ers lethargic out of halftime break

Dec. 3, 2010
 
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree catches a 32-yard touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter of their Oct. 17 game in San Francisco. Crabtree is only one of two 49ers to score a touchdown in the third quarter this season.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree catches a 32-yard touchdown pass against the Oakland Raiders in the third quarter of their Oct. 17 game in San Francisco. Crabtree is only one of two 49ers to score a touchdown in the third quarter this season. / File/AP

Act Three

Teams that have scored the fewest points in the third quarter this year.

Pts. Team
16 Steelers
17 49ers
30 Browns
33 Bears
34 Colts
36 Panthers
37 Buccaneers
37 Redskins

Teams that have allowed the fewest points in the third quarter this year.

Pts. Team
12 Ravens
20 Browns
23 Packers
24 Chargers
29 Panthers
29 Steelers
31 Bears
33 Jets

More

The third quarter has been the lowest scoring quarter in the NFL in each of the past two seasons.

The San Francisco 49ers are doing their part to keep it in the running for a three-peat in 2010.

The 49ers, the Green Bay Packers’ opponent this Sunday at Lambeau Field, are one of four teams to have scored fewer than 200 points this season. Carolina (140 points) is the least productive followed by San Francisco (187), Minnesota (189) and Arizona (194).

San Francisco is particularly ineffective in the third quarter where it has pushed across an NFC-low 17 points. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers (16 points) have been less of a threat.

The 49ers have been shut out eight times in the third quarter. That’s two fewer times than they have been shutout in the other three quarters combined.

Touchdowns have been nearly rare. Running back Anthony Dixon and wide receiver Michael Crabtree are the only 49ers to have reached the end zone in the 15 minutes following halftime.

Dixon, a rookie, scored on a 2-yard run in a 25-22 loss to the Saints in September. Crabtree, the team’s top draft choice in 2009, struck pay dirt on a 32-yard pass from Alex Smith in a 17-9 win over the Raiders.

Shane Andrus accounted for the other score with a 38-yard field goal in a 27-6 triumph over the Cardinals in Week 12.

The third quarter has been the weakest from a yardage standpoint as well. The 49ers’ production there (754 yards) trails that of the first (795), second (885) and fourth quarters (1,056).

An even larger discrepancy can be found in the number of plays run beyond the 50-yard line. San Francisco has taken 44 snaps in enemy territory in the third quarter compared with 66, 58 and 79, respectively, in the first, second and fourth periods.

In traveling to Green Bay, the 49ers will bump up against a defense that has kept opponents in check in the third quarter. The Packers have surrendered 23 points, third fewest behind the Ravens (12 points) and Browns (20).

The Eagles, Lions, Dolphins and Vikings each got a score against Green Bay in the third quarter. Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy and Minnesota’s Randy Moss were the only two to record touchdowns.

While the Packers have been stingy with points, they haven’t been as tight-fisted with yards. Green Bay has given up 813 yards in the third quarter which ranks second behind the 690 they’ve allowed in the first quarter.

Last year the Raiders (22 third-quarter points) were the least potent coming out of halftime. With five games remaining, the 49ers are unlikely to finish below that level, but they could break the team record for fewest third-quarter points in a season (30) established in 1978.

Quick hits

Under Mike Singletary the 49ers are 0-6 in games in which one of their own amasses at least 100 yards receiving, including 0-2 this year. Frank Gore had 102 receiving yards in a 31-10 loss to the Chiefs, and both Crabtree and tight end Vernon Davis went over 100 yards in a 27-24 setback to the Eagles.

The 49ers have not allowed a 100-yard rusher in any of their last 17 games, the second longest active streak behind the 18 in a row of the Jets. That accomplishment doesn’t sound as impressive when considering the Chiefs’ Jamaal Charles (97 yards) and Thomas Jones (95) averaged 6.2 yards per rush in 31 combined attempts in Week 3.

Regular-season series

Overall: Green Bay leads 29-25-1

At Lambeau Field: Packers lead 9-3

Starting quarterbacks

Packers: Aaron Rodgers (24-19 overall; 1-0 vs. San Francisco)

49ers: Troy Smith (4-2; 0-0 vs. Green Bay)

Once a 49er, now a Packer

Linebackers Diyral Briggs (2009-10) and Matt Wilhelm (2009) are former 49ers.

Once a Packer, now a 49er

Running back DeShawn Wynn (2007-09) is a former Packer.

Eric Goska is a Press-Gazette correspondent, a Packers historian and the author of "Green Bay Packers: A Measure of Greatness," a statistical history of the Packers. E-mail him at aegoska@sbcglobal.net.

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