The Examiner breaks down the 49ers-Browns game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.
THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY
1 Running back Frank Gore became the first Niner to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons since Charlie Garner did it 1999 and 2000. Gore (1,008 yards) has a really good chance to pile on the yards on Sunday. The Browns’ defense is the second-worst in the league and allows 130.7 rushing yards per game (28th in the league) — though it doesn’t allow too many touchdowns on the ground (8).
2 Fourteen-year veteran Bryant Young, the last link to the 1994 Super Bowl team, celebrated his last ride, being carried off on his teammates’ shoulders after beating Tampa Bay in his last home game. The four-time Pro Bowl player will now have to set his emotions aside and put out his best effort in the last game of his career. And the task won’t be easy. Browns running back Jamal Lewis has resurrected his career in Cleveland and quarterback Derek Anderson can’t be given a lot of time to throw to his many weapons. Count on Young to inspire his teammates and put together one last solid effort to end 2007.
3 The way the 49ers’ season has gone, it is almost fitting that a quarterback who wasn’t invited to anyone’s training camp is starting the finale. Chris Weinke gets the nod and is the fourth starting QB the Niners have trotted out this season.
THE EXAMINER PREDICTS … There’s one thing that’s meaningful for the Niners — Maurice Hicks needs just 19 kick return yards to break his own franchise record for most return yards in a season, set last year. It will be the only boost the Niners will have to end the campaign.
BROWNS 23, 49ers 19