Around the NFC West: 49ers sinking

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' owners were "grumbling" about the team's coaching following the team's sixth defeat in seven games this season. The decision to replace Shaun Hill with David Carr cost the 49ers a victory in this game against the Panthers, in my view. Hill proved in the past he could play at least as well as Alex Smith. All the 49ers needed Sunday was an average or below-average performance from their backup quarterback once a shoulder injury sidelined Smith. Carr performed at a lower level. Coach Mike Singletary: "There's no doubt in my mind, somehow, someway, we will regroup and we will keep fighting and we will make a season of it. And I still believe we can go to the playoffs. I still believe we can get those things done. We just have to get the right things in place and go from there."

Also from Maiocco: The Panthers' rookie receivers hurt the 49ers more than veteran Steve Smith hurt them.

More from Maiocco: The 49ers' season has "fallen apart" now that the team has a 1-6 record. Maiocco: "Where do the 49ers go from here? Well, out of the country -- and that seems to be as good a place as any."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says Alex Smith suspects he suffered a separated shoulder against Carolina. Barrows: "Smith said his injury didn't hurt as badly as it did in 2007 when Rocky Bernard drove him into the Candlestick Park grass. But he said today's injury happened exactly the same way - with defensive end Johnson falling on him this time. He said he knew what had happened as soon as he hit the ground. The 49ers, of course, were cautious not to make any declarations about Smith's availability. But it's very difficult to see him playing Sunday against the Broncos. A likely return would be after the team's Week 9 bye."

Also from Barrows: Carr says he needs more reps. Carr: "Preparation only goes so far. You have to get the reps, too. And that is something that I will probably get a chance to do this week."

More from Barrows: The 49ers' rookie offensive linemen continue to struggle on the road.

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Singletary kept saying he needed to "look at the film" before commenting on various aspects of the 49ers' performance.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary is "not right" for the job and likely will quit or be fired in the not-too-distant future.

Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says Singletary would not commit to Carr as the 49ers' starter in Week 8.

Also from Brown: a report card featuring an "F" grade for the 49ers' coaching. Brown: "Back-to-back weeks with 11 penalties show a lack of discipline; Singletary's non-stop sideline tirades show the same thing."

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says Carr's performance removed any doubt about whether the team should replace Smith with him.

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle sums up the 49ers' conservative post-Smith offense this way: "From midway through the third quarter until late in the fourth, he went more than 18 minutes with just one pass attempt (and one sack) as the 49ers ran on 10 of 12 plays. Carr didn't air out the ball until the Panthers tied the game 20-20 inside the two-minute warning, only to throw an interception that set up Carolina's game-winning field goal." Carr: "Frank (Gore) was running the ball really well, so we went with what was rolling, and why not? But when it comes down to it, you do have to find a way to make some plays because they were playing one-on-one with some guys."

Also from White: a look at Ray McDonald's touchdown.

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle says Singletary's big-picture proclamations aren't helping anyone. Ostler: "Singletary's best bet now is to put aside the visions and dreams, stop chirping at the refs and concentrate on fixing his team. The players don't enjoy the losing, either, but they might feel better knowing their coach is down there in the real world with them."