Singletary changed mind about benching Hill

Coach Mike Singletary said he wanted to choke his quarterback. Instead, he decided to bench him.

Then, Shaun Hill insisted he should remain in the game. He made a convincing argument.


Singletary said he saw something in Hill’s eyes, so he told J.T. O’Sullivan go to sit down. He was sticking with Hill.


What a decision that was. Hill threw for 127 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the 49ers to an incredible 17-16 victory over the Rams. The game was brutally boring through more than three quarters until the 49ers came to life.


In playing so poorly for as long as he did, Hill turned it around. He unquestionably deserves a lot of praise for the way he was able to somehow pull out this victory. That shows a lot about this guy.


Hill said he might have put too much pressure on himself to make plays with a large contingent of family and friends at the stadium. He also wanted to help Isaac Bruce reach a couple milestones. Bruce finished with seven catches for 61 yards to go over 1,000 receptions in his career and move into second place, past Tim Brown, in career receiving yards.


When asked how difficult it would’ve been to get benched, Hill said, “It would’ve been real tough. It was tough when it was being considered.”


Hill had three interceptions in the first three quarters.


“I was even going to take him out,” Singletary said. “The only thing that stopped me was the look in his eyes. He said, ‘Don’t do that, coach. I’m going to be OK.’ I said, ‘All right, let’s go.’ I’m really proud of him.”


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Singletary told the story about why he changed his mind about Hill in the locker room. He also called up Josh Morgan, who made the game-winning TD catch, Bruce and cornerback Tarell Brown, who clinched the game with a last-second interception.


When Bruce was called, his teammates broke into cheers of “Bruuuuuce!”


As for the final TD, both Morgan and Jason Hill were running deep fades. Both could have made the catch, but Morgan went up and got it. Shaun Hill insists he was throwing to Morgan.


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INJURY REPORT: S Michael Lewis (shoulder stinger) went back in the game. OLB Parys Haralson had his ankle re-taped after sustaining a sprain. He’s expected to be fine.


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OK, this does not seem to make a bunch of sense, but a 49ers source tells me that former baseball player Darryl Strawberry was a guest in the Yorks‘ luxury suite. I don’t know where to start with that one.


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Here are my quickie grades, which are influenced a lot by the victory:




Shaun Hill was about as bad as an NFL quarterback can be for most of the game. But when it mattered most, he found a way to pull out the victory. For that display of perseverance, he deserves a lot of credit and he gets a higher grade than the numbers show he deserves.




DeShaun Foster gained just 36 yards on 12 carries. He also got beaten for a sack in blitz pickup. Michael Robinson kept the ball in “Wildcat” once and gained just 2 yards.




Isaac Bruce made history with a couple milestones as part of his seven-catch, 61-yard day. But rookie Josh Morgan made the play of the game when he went up to make a 48-yard scoring grab with 82 seconds remaining in the game.




Although there were four sacks allowed, the line did a solid job most of the time. Shaun Hill held the ball too long some times and could have avoided sacks. Some sacks were not the line’s fault.




The line jumped offside four times in the first half. Although Steven Jackson gained 108 yards, it took him 32 rushing attempts to get there. Justin Smith had six tackles and a sack.




Patrick Willis had 13 tackles, including a big stop for a 3-yard loss in the final minute when the Rams needed just 10 yards for a game-winning field-goal attempt. Takeo Spikes also had a tackle for loss.




The 49ers had a mess up in the secondary on a 30-yard TD, but Michael Lewis, Walt Harris and Nate Clements broke up two passes apiece. Tarell Brown clinched the game with an interception in the final minute.




Andy Lee had an outstanding 54.8 average (47.2 net) on five punts. Joe Nedney’s 48-yard field goal in the opening quarter gave the 49ers a lead. The 49ers did nothing great or bad in the return game.




Without the final 4:03 of the game, in which the 49ers scored 14 points, this game easily would’ve been an “F.” But the 49ers somehow found a way to win a game on the road that it had no business winning. There was a lot of questionable stuff, but a win covers up a lot of blemishes.


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