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September 26, 2010
Singletary's 'hard decisions' won't include offensive coordinator

Mike Singletary said he would have to make "some hard decisions" after a 31-10 loss to Kansas City on Sunday, but offensive coordinator won't be one of them. Asked if Jimmy Raye will be the offensive coordinator for the rest of the year, Singletary said, "Yes. Yes."

Not surprisingly, neither Singletary nor his players had any ready answers for what happened today. The 49ers did not start quickly - a common denominator in their last two games - but several times Singletary said he would have to study the film before coming to any conclusions. "I don't know. It could be a number of things, but right now I'm not going to go there," Singletary said. "I just think that (the Chiefs) came out and took advantage of the opportunities that they had and we did not."

His players, namely Alex Smith, Frank Gore and Vernon Davis, echoed that response. Asked about a creativity gap between them and the Chiefs, Gore said, "I can't say that. We've got to watch the film."

Receiver Michael Crabtree had another quiet game, catching three passes for 37 yards. Asked if he was surprised the 49ers did not turn to a spread attack earlier in the game, Crabtree shrugged. "I play receiver," he said. "I wish I could call the plays, but that's not my job."

You had to look hard, but the 49ers had one silver lining through 59:57 of the game: no injuries. Even that bit of good news, however, evaporated at the end when Josh Morgan went down with a knee injury following his last-second touchdown reception from 12 yards out. Singletary called a timeout to run the play. Why?

"I look at it a different way - our offense, we get them out there and try and continue to fight, continue to get something going. That was the mindset."

Morgan was diagnosed with a knee strain. Afterward, Smith said he didn't think it was serious. The touchdown catch was Morgan's only reception on the day. Safety Michael Lewis sprained his ankle but returned to the game.

Alex Smith and Michael Crabtree have a dangerous streak going - botched pass attempts that lead to costly interceptions. It happened again Sunday when a third-and-four pass intended for Crabtree was instead picked off by Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers. Hearing them explain the play afterward, it's clear that quarterback and receiver still aren't on the same wavelength.

"It seemed like he (Flowers) was inside, and he (Smith) threw the ball inside," Crabtree said. Said Smith: "I went to my progression. He's No. 3. He's really the outlet on that play. When I threw it, I was anticipating -- I guess from my perpective - I thought he was going to come in front and it didn't happen."

Four of Smith's five interceptions on the season have come on passes to Crabtree, who missed all of the exhibition season with a sore neck. Through three games, Smith's favorite wide receiver has been Josh Morgan, who has hauled in 10 passes to six for Crabtree. The team's wideouts have 21 receptions combined so far this season; running back Frank Gore has 22 and tight end Vernon Davis has 15.

Why aren't the wide receivers more involved? "Tough to say at this point," Smith said. "I have to look at it."

Just days after Singletary praised rookie offensive tackle Anthony Davis for his "nastiness" against the Saints, Davis picked up an unnecessary roughness penalty in the third quarter that turned a second-and-seven situation into second and 22.

"He just got hit inappropriately," Singletary said. "And after a while there's only so much you can take. But he was wrong for retaliating and he knows that." The guy who did the inappropriate hitting? Chiefs defensive end Shaun Smith, who was subbing for injured Tyson Jackson. Davis also was flagged for a false start and allowed two of the five sacks on Smith.

Takeo Spikes started Sunday's game despite missing a full week of practice with a sore knee. Spikes didn't play a lot, however, as the Chiefs lined up with multiple pass catchers and the 49ers countered with their nickel defenses packages.

He gave way to rookie NaVorro Bowman in the second half. Bowman had good coverage on fellow rookie Tony Moeaki on a pass to the end zone in the third quarter. But the tight end made a leaping grab for a touchdown in the back of the end zone to put Kansas City ahead 24-3.

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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