49ers bad run continues

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The Independent Online

There was no miracle finish this time for the San Francisco 49ers, not even the hope of one. Instead, it was just one more bad performance in a season of failure.

There was no miracle finish this time for the San Francisco 49ers, not even the hope of one. Instead, it was just one more bad performance in a season of failure.

Brett Favre passed for two touchdowns and Green Bay's defense held San Francisco's struggling offense without a touchdown as the Packers sent the 49ers to their seventh straight loss, 20-3 on Monday night.

It's the longest skid for San Francisco (3-8) since losing eight in a row in 1980, and ensured the 49ers would finish with their first non-winning campaign since going 3-6 in the strike-shortened 1982 season. And a crowd used to seeing the 49ers win turned on the home team, showering them with boos even as the players were pelted by rain late in the game.

Green Bay (6-5) pulled to within a game of Detroit, Tampa Bay and Minnesota in the NFC Central with five remaining and ran its record to 6-1 against the 49ers since 1995, including four playoff encounters.

San Francisco's lone victory in that span came in last January's Wild Card playoff when Steve Young threaded a 25-yard touchdown pass to Terrell Owens through three defenders in the final seconds.

But this time, Young watched from the sidelines, probably out for the rest of the season with a concussion suffered 27 September.

First-year Green Bay coach Ray Rhodes, a former 49ers assistant, got his first win in eight Monday night games. The 49ers saw one more streak end when San Francisco coach Steve Mariucci, a former Packers assistant, lost for the first time in eight on Monday night games.

Steve Stenstrom, who began the year as the team's third stringer, threw an end zone interception to end one promising drive. On another occasion, he had the ball slip out of his hands trying to pass, and the 49ers had to scramble to recover the fumble.

Late in the game, Fred Beasley lost a fumble and J.J. Stokes was flagged for offensive pass interference in yet more signs of San Francisco's free-falling offense. The 49ers reached the Green Bay 1, and had a third-and-goal but Beasley was stopped short, then Stenstrom's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

The lone bright spot was Jerry Rice's four receptions for 63 yards, boosting his career total to 18,025 yards receiving. He's the first player in NFL history to surpass the 18,000-yard plateau.

But Stenstrom has yet to throw for a score in his three starts. San Francisco's offense has managed just one touchdown in its last five games, while failing to score in double figures in the past four games for the first time in franchise history.

Green Bay, seeking a playoff berth for a seventh straight season, was sluggish offensively at the start but drew a key pass interference penalty to get going. Corey Bradford blew by cornerback Ramos McDonald, who was forced to grab him to prevent a long touchdown. The 47-yard penalty took the ball to the San Francisco 33 and five plays later Bradford finished the drive with a 13-yard scoring pass from Favre.

Ryan Longwell, who missed a 30-yard field goal try earlier, came back to make a 23-yarder to put Green Bay up 10-3 at halftime and Favre extended the lead with a 10-yard scoring pass to Tyrone Davis with 3:43 remaining in the third quarter.

Longwell added a 22-yard field goal with 11:36 remaining.

San Francisco scored first, helped by an acrobatic over-the-shoulder catch by Rice that went for 32 yards, his longest reception of the season. But the drive stalled and Wade Richey kicked a 35-yard field goal.

Even though it allowed the 49ers to avoid their first shutout since 1977, it marked the fourth time in 11 games San Francisco scored only field goals.

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