Before Mike Singletary could highlight the positives (offensive line, Alex Smith, Frank Gore) and explain the negatives of Monday night’s game (four turnovers and a safety); he thanked the 49ers Faithful first.
“It was great to see the fans excited for the game,” Singletary said in his opening comments. “They were effective with the loud noise they made.
“They gave us energy.”
Singletary also praised the contributions of many of last night’s key participants, most notably, his coordinators, his quarterback and his offensive line.
He said both Alex Smith and the offensive line put together their best performances in 49ers uniforms. Smith threw for more yards than Super Bowl XLIV MVP Drew Brees (275 to 254), and the line did not surrender a single sack to New Orleans.
Singletary also commended the line for its dominant play in the running game. They allowed Frank Gore to put together his 21st 100-yard rushing performance in a 49ers uniform, which gives him the most in franchise history. Gore surpassed the record previously established by Hall of Fame running back Joe Perry.
Gore carried 20 times for 112 yards including a 7-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter. The offensive line also paved way for rookie Anthony Dixon to score a 2-yard rushing touchdown on his first NFL carry.
“The running game got started,” Singletary said. “I’m proud of our offensive line. That was the best they’ve played since I’ve been here.”
That was said even with the 49ers playing without the services of right guard Chilo Rachal (stinger) and center Eric Heitmann (broken fibula). Adam Snyder and David Baas did a fine job filling in, but that doesn’t mean they’ll both remain in the starting five, Singletary said.
Rachal will be a starter when he returns from injury. As for Baas, that will be discussed by the coaching staff when Heitmann fully recovers from the broken leg he suffered early in training camp.
Singletary said he wasn’t sure why Baas’ first quarter snap sailed over Smith’s head and wound up as New Orleans safety, but did say he was pleased with Baas overall. “He’s done a good job; he’s taken ownership of that position.”
Singletary noted that the offense improved its tempo based on its increased focus on the a 40-second play clock in practice.
It paid off on Monday with the offense putting together three touchdown drives, all of which went at least 80 yards.
And although it wasn’t the end result he had envisioned for his team, Singletary was clearly optimistic for being at 0-2.
“I think the guys took a big step last night,” he said underscoring the importance of battling back against a playoff-caliber opponent.
“They’re learning valuable things early in the season… it will help down the road.”
Linebacker Takeo Spikes’ knee contusion was the only reported injury after the game.
Singletary said Rachal’s stinger remains as a day-to-day injury.
Tags: Alex Smith, Chilo Rachal, David Baas, Eric Heitmann, Frank Gore
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