Unspectacular Carr unquestioned No. 2

David Carr’s stats were about as pretty as his shot-put delivery, but Mike Singletary unequivocally declared him the Niners’ second-string quarterback after Saturday night’s game.

Unlike third-stringer Nate Davis the previous week, Carr never wowed the fans – or Cris Collinsworth – with a 60-yard, did-you-see-that missile. But he also never did anything to draw Singletary’s ire. Davis, of course, managed to do just that when he slid shy of the first-down marker without being touched against Minnesota.

Carr, who played the entire second half in relief of Alex Smith, completed 7 of 17 passes for 54 yards and led the Niners on their game-winning 16-play, 80-yard touchdown drive in their 28-24 win over Oakland.

“David’s doing OK, I think he just has to get in sync with everything around him,” Singletary said. “It’s a situation of him getting more and more familiar with the timing of the receivers and what we’re striving to do.”

Not exactly fawning praise. But Davis can attest that it beats getting blasted for your work ethic.

Carr’s human-helicopter routine on the final drive was his signature moment. On third-and-3 at the Oakland 33, Carr scrambled for a first down, going airborne for the necessary yards and getting whacked by linebacker Ricky Brown and cornerback Jeremy Ware in the process.

Really? In the preseason? Carr smiled as he explained.

“I have a hard time talking myself out of those plays,” he said. “Honestly, it’s one of my favorite when a play breaks down.”

That play got the attention, but it was a subtle move Carr made on his final play of the night that could best explain why he’s earned Singletary’s endorsement.

As the Niners were lined up for the two-point conversion attempt, Carr looked to his left and gave instructions to tight end Joe Jon Finely, who was standing up out of his stance, clearly confused about his assignment. Moments later, Carr took the snap and found tight end Nate Byham in the right corner.

It won’t get Carr compared to Elway. But it could help explain why he’s the man behind Smith.

- Eric Branch