Mike Singletary seemed to be in a fighting mood during his post-game presser today. He usually starts by thanking his coaches, his players, and sometimes God. Today he launched right into the post mortems of the 49ers' 34-27 loss. He seemed particularly prickly when asked why the 49ers went with such a wide open offense against the Titans.
"You're asking me why I did it?" Singletary responded. "You've been asking me all week why I wouldn't do it. Now you're asking me why did I do it." Yikes! Why so defensive? My theory is that Singletary never wanted to get pushed in that direction in the first place. After all, when you attempt 51 passes like the 49ers did Sunday, you run the risk of turnovers. And turnovers - four of them - killed the 49ers on Sunday.
Singletary also probably wasn't happy to see the Titans playing exactly the kind of game he had hoped for this season from his team. Which is to say, lots of running and no turnovers.
The 49ers picked a bad time to have their longest injury list (nine players long) of the season. The 49ers host the Bears Thursday night. Players usually have two days to heal - Monday and Tuesday - before practice begins for the next week. The 49ers have today off but are expected to practice Tuesday.
The injured 49ers were: safety Curtis Taylor (shin bruise), running back Michael Robinson (shoulder), cornerback Tarell Brown (bruised ribs), guard David Baas (shoulder), tight end Delanie Walker (knee), Frank Gore (eye), safety Michael Lewis (quadriceps strain), tight end Vernon Davis (shoulder) and running back Glen Coffee (concussion). All of those players returned to the game except for Taylor, Lewis and Coffee.
Gore was poked in the right eye and looked like a boxer who had gone 12 rounds. He said the poking occurred at the bottom of a pile in the first half. Gore never left the game and the injury didn't appear to affect his vision.
The 49ers entered the game with the league's second-best run defense, one that has held opponents to just under 85 rushing yards a game. That ranking, however, is bound to drop after Chris Johnson's 135-yard performance Sunday. Johnson's most damaging run was one of his shortest. Facing fourth and one at the San Francisco two-yard line, the Titans called for a pitch out to Johnson. The 49ers seemed to have the play strung out, but Johnson was able to beat linebacker Parys Haralson around the outside and scoot in for the go-ahead touchdown.
"You can't take anything away from the guy," said Patrick Willis, who finished with 10 tackles. "The kid is fast and he can run. ... If you give him what he is looking for, which is the edge, he can turn and run like there's no tomorrow."
Bright spots? How about Jason Hill, who was in uniform for just the third time all season and made the most of his opportunity? Hill caught four passes for 50 yards on Sunday with two of those receptions occurring in the end zone.
The first was one of Alex Smith's best touchdown passes of his career. At the Tennessee 20-yard line, Smith broke free of a would-be tackler, sprinted to his right and just as he was about to run out of bounds, threw across his body to a wide-open Hill in the back of the end zone. Smith also found Hill with a three-yard touchdown pass late in the game.
"He and I got a lot of work together the first six weeks of the season, working out there on the scout team together," Smith said. "I've got a trust in Jason, and it showed out there today."
Hill hasn't been happy about his lack of playing time this season, but when he approached Mike Singletary on Friday, the coach told him he'd be active. "He said, you have to be ready. And (receivers) coach (Jerry) Sullivan said the same thing -- be ready," Hill said. "I thought if I could get out there, I could make a difference" Hill's playing time came at the expense of veteran Isaac Bruce, who didn't play in the second half and who finished with one catch for three yards.
Another bright spot? Vernon Davis, who reached the 100-yard mark for the first time in his career. Davis led all receivers with 10 catches for 102 yards.
-- Matt Barrows