The 2001San Francisco 49ersseason was the team's 55th season, and 51st in the National Football League. The rebounded from these two losing seasons, and the 49ers get their first winning season under quarterback Jeff Garcia, and returned to the playoffs since 1998. However, it was not to be as they fell 25-15 to the Green Bay Packers in the Wildcard round. The Packers would go on to lose 45-17 to the eventual NFC Champion St. Louis Rams the following week, thanks to Brett Favre's six interceptions.
Week One vs. Atlanta Falcons – Despite limiting the Falcons to 241 total yards the Niners had to rally from down 13-3 in the second half. J.J. Stokes caught a touchdown from Jeff Garcia early in the fourth and Jose Cortez' 20-yard field goal forced overtime, where he won it from 24 yards out. Rookie Michael Vick of the Falcons attempted four passes, none completed.
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Week Two vs. St. Louis Rams – The Rams raced to a 12-0 lead (marred by a botched two-point conversion attempt) before giving up 16 unanswered points to the Niners (marred by a missed PAT) to end the first half. The Rams behind Kurt Warner then outscored Jeff Garcia's Niners 18-10 in the second half, winning by a 30-26 final as they held the Niners to 232 yards of offense.
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Week Three at NY Jets – Three years after Garrison Hearst's 96-yard overtime touchdown, the 49ers faced the New York Jets again, this time grinding out a 19-17 win. Hearst had 83 yards as the Niners rushed for 233 yards vs. 82 for the Jets, 76 of them (and a touchdown) from Curtis Martin.
Week Four vs. Carolina Panthers – The Panthers had won four straight against the 49ers and eight of the two clubs' first thirteen meetings, but with rookie washout Chris Weinke the Panthers fell 24-14; the Niners picked off Weinke three times while Jeff Garcia had 212 passing yards and two touchdowns to Terrell Owens; five Niners backs also rushed for 150 yards.
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Week Five at Atlanta Falcons – Terrell Owens erupted to nine catches for 183 yards and three touchdowns, the last a 52-yard bomb in overtime, as the Niners battled from behind the entire game. Chris Chandler of the Falcons had two touchdowns, the last a 47-yarder to Brian Finneran with 2:22 to go in the fourth.
Week Six – BYE WEEK
Week Seven at Chicago Bears – The Niners had beaten the Bears five straight meetings entering this encounter, but this game proved difficult for San Francisco after the Niners raced to a 28-9 lead in the third quarter. The Bears exploded to three touchdowns, two of them David Terrell catches from Shane Matthews that forced overtime tied 31-31. Six seconds into overtime Jeff Garcia's pass to Terrell Owens bounced out of his hands and was intercepted by Mike Brown, who ran back a 33-yard touchdown; it would be the first of consecutive overtime scores by Brown as the Bears won 37-31.
Week Eight vs. Detroit Lions – With Ed Hochuli as head referee, the Niners welcomed their former linebacker Matt Millen, now the ill-fated front office executive of the Lions, by beating his present team 21-13. Robert Bailey picked off Jeff Garcia and ran back a 74-yard touchdown, but after taking a 10-0 lead the Lions were crushed by three Garcia touchdowns, including two more to Terrell Owens, as three Detroit passers failed to surpass 90 total yards.
Week Ten @ Carolina Panthers – The Niners had to put up 417 yards of offense to erase a 22-14 Panthers lead and win 25-22. The Niners needed the final play of regulation to tie the game on a seven-yard Terrell Owens catch and Eric Johnson catch for the two-point conversion. In overtime the Niners needed eight plays before Jose Cortez finished the game off from 26 yards out.
Week Eleven at Indianapolis Colts – Despite trailing 21-20 and being outgained 340 yards of offense to 491 for the Colts, the 49ers crushed Indianapolis 40-21 by picking off Peyton Manning four times; Zack Bronson ran back one pick for a 48-yard touchdown. The Colts thus had lost for the third straight time and the frustration spilled into an infamous post-game press conference meltdown by Colts coach Jim E. Mora.
Week Twelve vs. Buffalo Bills – For the second time in the season Ed Hochuli was the head referee in a 49ers game at The Stick and the Niners made it an easy game for Hochuli by crushing the Bills 35-0. Hochuli flagged the Bills for seven penalties versus just one for the 49ers, who put up 409 yards of offense vs. 191 for Buffalo. Garrison Hearst rushed for 124 yards.
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Week Thirteen at St. Louis Rams – In defeating the 49ers 27-14 Kurt Warner ended the Niners' quest for the division title with 294 yards and two touchdowns, outclassing Jeff Garcia's 146 yards with 26 incompletions; Ricky Proehl's 109 receiving yards nearly outgained the pass-catching yardage of the entire Niners receiving corps.
Week Fifteen vs. Philadelphia Eagles – The Niners played their last home game of the year by edging the Eagles 13-3. The two teams combined for just 536 yards of offense (with 109 yards of penalties to the Eagles) as Terrell Owens had the game's only touchdown, a 32-yard catch.
Week Seventeen @ New Orleans Saints – The 49ers crushed the Saints 38-0 as they intercepted Aaron Brooks four times, forced two fumbles, and Jeff Garcia threw four touchdowns, two of them 50-plus yarders to Terrell Owens. The Saints were held to 126 total yards of offense in their final game as an NFC West team.