Singletary sees plenty of beauty in victory
The 49ers managed just 203 yards of total offense and gained just 21 yards on 25 rushes. But that doesn’t matter to coach Mike Singletary.
“I could care less if it was an ugly game, but it was beautiful for us,” Singletary said. “I don’t care about all that stuff, the stats and all that.”
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The 49ers’ defense was outstanding against the Cardinals’ powerful offense. Patrick Willis and Nate Clements recorded interceptions. The club got a very strong pass rush throughout the game with Justin Smith, Parys Haralson and Ray McDonald recording sacks.
“It all goes hand in hand,” Haralson said. “When the defense is covering it up like they did today, it gives us time to get to the quarterback.”
Larry Fitzgerald, one of the game’s best receivers, had little success against Nate Clements again. He had some catches when Clements was not on him. Fitzgerald had six receptions for 71 yards, including a 25-yard grab in the closing seconds (he was tackled in bounds) to set up the final play of the game. Smith recorded the sack to end the game.
Said Fitzgerald: “Those guys played well. They all did a really good job on their coverages. Next time we play them, we have to do a better job.”
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Willis was credited with a game-high 13 tackles, while Haralson had four QB hurries and two tackles for loss. Smith had two QB hurries.
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It was a rough game for Frank Gore, who had just 30 yards on 22 carries. But he also had a rushing touchdown and a receiving touchdown in the same game for the first time in his career.
“That’s our style. Coach Singletary wants physical, hard-nosed football,” Gore said. “That’s what we have to do. They had a great game plan for our offense, but we got the ‘W.’ It was tough out there. It was tough on the ground. They came in thinking they were going to stop the run, and they did a great job.”
Quarterback Shaun Hill completed 18 of 31 passes for 209 yards and a touchdown. He said he never got frustrated when offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye stuck with the run game. In fact, he said that emphasis on the run might have been the reason the 49ers were able to put together their 15-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
“That was one of the reasons we were able to put that drive together.” Hill said.
In fact, the 49ers attempted only two run plays on that drive, as Hill completed 9 of his 13 attempts.
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Vernon Davis caught five passes for 40 yards, while Isaac Bruce had 74 yards receiving on four catches.
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The winning score came when center Eric Heitmann made the perfect line call against the Cardinals’ blitz.
“Up the middle and off the right side were where the blitzes were coming,” Heitmann said. “And we wanted to make sure everything was protected off the backside of the quarterback. And that way, if he does get pressure, it’s just in his face and he can get rid of the ball. That’s the situation we were in, and they blitzed and Frank was open.”
Gore scored on a 3-yard pass from Hill on a third-down play.
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The 49ers appeared to make it through the game with no injury concerns. Cornerback Marcus Hudson had a chest contusion and had X-rays in the first half, but he returned to the game. Guard Chilo Rachal appeared on the preliminary injury report with a neck injury, but he remained in the game.
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