Painful loss for the 49ers

The 49ers have a quick turnaround, which might be a good thing after a game like this. The 49ers lost to the Tennessee Titans 34-27. They fell two games behind the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC West. The 49ers have lost four in a row and five of six.

 

Yes, ordinarily, it’s a good thing to come right back after having four turnovers lead to 24 points. But the 49ers have some injury concerns now.

 

Safety Michael Lewis left the game in the fourth quarter with a quad strain. And backup running back Glen Coffee sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter. Those appear to be the players who might not be able to rebound for Thursday’s game against the Bears.

 

The rest of the injury report looks like this:

 

TE Delanie Walker (left knee sprain), G David Baas (right shoulder stinger), CB Tarell Brown left ribs contusion), TE Vernon Davis (left shoulder contusion), RB Frank Gore (right eye contusion), RB Michael Robinson (right shoulder stinger), and S Curtis Taylor (right shin contusion).

 

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Quarterback Alex Smith committed four turnovers. He threw three interceptions and lost one fumble.

 

“It’s very obvious what happened,” coach Mike Singletary said. “I don’t think our guys quit. I think the guys played hard. We didn’t play very smart in terms of giving the football away. We have a formula in terms of how we play, how we win games. The No. 1 thing is we cannot turn the ball over.”

 

On one of Smith’s interceptions, he locked onto receiver Josh Morgan, That allowed Chris Hope the time to jump the route and make the pick.

 

The other two interceptions were tipped, and Smith also lost a fumble when he lost control of the ball as he was throwing. The ball hit off a Jacob Ford’s helmet.

 

Here’s what Singletary said when asked if he blames Smith for the turnovers:

 

“No, I wouldn’t say that at all. I thought Alex was playing well today, for the most part. When you get turnovers, obviously you can’t say that. But I thought he made some good decisions. We just have to look at film and kind of come away from it as to where the fault is.

 

“I saw a quarterback throwing the ball pretty effectively, for the most part. As far as the fumbles are concerned, once again we have to look at it and go from there. I’m a little surprised that he hasn’t fumbled more. When you get a quarterback that’s coming in new and not taken any snaps during the year, these are some of the things that you’re going to have early on. I thought for the most part that Alex did a good job. I really did.”

 

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The 49ers played primarily out of a two-TE formation and opened things up. The 49ers have been saying they would not do that. Singletary got a little touchy when I asked why, in fact, they did spread it out more today.

 

“You’re asking me why I did it?” Singletary said. “You’ve been asking me all week why I wouldn’t do it. Now you’re asking me why did I do it. You know what? It’s as simple as this: We thought it would give us the best chance to win. For the most part, it worked pretty well.”

 

The reason the 49ers did it was because of Delanie Walker. Because Walker is a wide receiver in a tight end’s body, the 49ers felt that it would be beneficial in the run and pass games. If the Titans subbed in a nickel back, they would be able to run the ball better. If the Titans stayed with their base defense, they would have a mismatch with Walker against a linebacker in the pass game.

 

During the podcast with Walker that I posted yesterday, he said that most teams match him against a cornerback or safety. But the Titans stayed with their base personnel. In effect, they dared the 49ers to throw, and that’s what they did.

 

Smith was 29 of 45 for 286 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. If you include the four sacks and two scrambles, the 49ers called 51 passes. Meanwhile, they called 18 runs. Gore led the way with 83 yards on 15 carries.

 

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One big storyline is the disappearance of veteran Isaac Bruce. He did not start the game, as Morgan got the call. Then, Bruce fell coming out of a break and was replaced by Jason Hill.

 

Hill looked very good. He caught four passes for 50 yards and TWO touchdowns. The first touchdown was really good. Smith rolled right to buy time, and Hill came back in the back of the end zone to catch a 12-yard TD pass at the end of the second quarter.

 

“I got a lot of work with Jason for the first six weeks of the season on the scout team,” Smith said. “I have a lot of trust in Jason.”

 

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Frank Gore looked like he’d gone 12 rounds in the boxing ring. His right eye was puffy.

 

“A lot of our guys in our locker room know that we can play,” he said. “We know what we can do on the field. It just comes down to two or three plays that really hurt us. The need for two or three plays is real big, and it cost us the game. That’s what’s been happening the last couple of weeks. We’ve got to fix it. We have to fix it if we want to go forward and win.”

 

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As far as the 49ers falling two games behind the Cardinals . . . “I don’t care about the Cardinals,” Singletary said. “I care nothing about the Cardinals. I care nothing about anything else that’s happening in the NFL. I don’t care about that. The only thing I care about is this football team realizing that we can win games if we do not kill ourselves. It’s as simple as that. I don’t care about the Cardinals. Done.”

 

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