Smith’s rally falls short; Singletary undecided on QB

Coach Mike Singletary was the last person on the 49ers’ side to talk to the media today. Generally, the head coach is the first.


Singletary returned to his hometown today, and the 49ers were simply awful in the first half. They fell behind 21-0. Before heading to the locker room, he suggested to offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye that the 49ers make a change at quarterback.


Raye was certainly not going to push back. After all, Raye believes in having a quarterback who can get the ball down the field to augment his power-running game. Alex Smith’s strength is the intermediate and deep ball.


Smith played very well in the second half. He completed 15 of 22 passes for 206 yards and three touchdowns – all to Vernon Davis. The only blemish was his last-pass interception, which came on a fourth-and-10. Smith’s passer rating was 118.6 for the game. (Before the interception, his rating was 142.1.)


The 49ers fell to 3-3 on the season with a 24-21 loss to the Texans.


The game featured a successful debut from Michael Crabtree (five receptions for 56 yards). But more on him later.


Singletary said after the game that he has not decided which quarterback will start next week when the 49ers travel to face the Indianapolis Colts. It seems pretty obvious here, but Singletary will likely make that announcement tomorrow.


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Shaun Hill was replaced as quarterback after the 49ers struggled through a miserable first half. Hill completed 6 of 11 passes for 45 yards (passer rating of 64.6). He was sacked twice for 13 yards. Smith was not sacked in the second half.


Singletary pulled Hill aside at halftime to tell him Smith would go into the game. Hill said he did not resist the change because Singletary was adamant about the decision.


Here’s what Singletary said in his postgame remarks:


–“I just felt it was time to make the (quarterback) switch. It was no long, drawn-out process. Hey, you know what, let’s make the change.”


–When asked which player will start next week, Singletary said, “I can’t say that going forward. We need to look at the film and look at some of the decisions that were made on behalf of both quarterbacks.”


–“We have to sit down as a staff and look at that. I don’t like going back and forth. But we’re going to have to sit down and look at it and see what’s best for the team. We certainly have tools. There’s no reason in the world why we’re not playing better on offense.”


–Singletary said it seemed like Smith got better protection but he said he can’t make that blanket statement. He said he wasn’t sure if it was the way Smith played or if the offensive line improved.


–When asked if Hill was playing poorly, Singletary answered, “I can’t say that. I can’t say that without looking at the film. It looked like he didn’t have a chance to throw the ball. I don’t know.”


–“Our offense was in a rut and we have playmakers on the field,” Singletary said. “We just felt we need a change, we needed a spark. And felt if Alex had that opportunity to come in and see what he could do.”


–When asked how Smith did, Singletary said, “Pretty decent. I thought he moved the team pretty well. I thought he made the plays he needed to make. That was good to see.”


–“We knew it would be a game of detail coming in here, and to find ourselves in a situation where we have to dig ourselves out of in the second half on the road is unacceptable,” Singletary said. “Alex came in and seemed to perk up the offense, but we just didn’t play well. We got to get better on the offensive line.”


–“I got to look at the film and continue to make the changes that are necessary to get better,” Singletary said. “We’re going to put the guys on the field who can play and give us the best chance to win.”


–Singletary said he did not know the extent of the left shoulder contusion to starting right tackle Tony Pashos. He did not play in the second half, with Barry Sims taking over. Also on the injury report were: LB Takeo Spikes (right shoulder strain), DT Aubrayo Franklin (right knee), DE Justin Smith (left calf strain) and LB Marques Harris (hamstring strain).


–Singletary was asked if Crabtree’s presence had anything to do with Vernon Davis’ big game. Singletary said he thinks Davis is a heck of a tight end – whether Crabtree is on the field or not. “Now, ask me another question about Crabtree,” Singletary said. “Did I think he did a great job today? Absolutely. Absolutely. Without question, he did a heck of a job.”


–Crabtree played 89-percent of the 49ers’ offensive plays. Here is how many plays the 49ers’ wideouts played today (the 49ers had 54 snaps on offense):


Crabtree 48

Morgan 38

Bruce 36

Battle 1


“Bottom line is, when he (Crabtree) had a chance to make plays, he made them,” Singletary said. “You’re talking about a guy who’s been working his tail off, hasn’t been to camp and came in today and looks like he’s been here a while.”


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Arnaz Battle muffed a punt that set up a Texans touchdown. Battle was dealing with the sun, and he said the ball “shifted” on him when it was coming down. I asked about the team’s decision to cut Allen Rossum . . .


“Allen had some issues, too, OK?” Singletary said. “It’s not like he was catching everything clean. They both have issues. We just have to find a way to get that settled. And it’s something we have to settle in a hurry. That makes no sense at all . . . it makes no sense to be dropping balls.”


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49ers inactives for the game were: quarterback Nate Davis (he did not make the trip due to an illness), safeties Michael Lewis and Reggie Smith, center Cody Wallace, WRs Micheal Spurlock, Brandon Jones and Jason Hill, and defensive lineman Ricky Jean-Francois.


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