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Monday, December 21, 2009
In-depth look at the 49ers' offense

By Mike Sando

Mike Singletary is genuine and I think that's one of the main reasons players respond well to him. They know he's not trying to fool anyone.

That genuineness is one of the things I appreciate about his news conferences. Singletary isn't always expansive on sensitive subjects, but he seems honest. His latest session -- the 49ers have the video here -- begins with detailed assessments for each of the team's three interceptions during its 27-13 defeat at Philadelphia in Week 15.

Tight end Vernon Davis was primarily responsible for the first one. The Eagles tricked quarterback Alex Smith on the second one, using tactics the Titans also employed. Smith made a poor decision on the third one.

More broadly, Singletary said the 49ers came into the game wanting to run the ball quite a bit, but the plan changed when they fell behind, 20-3. The explanation makes sense, but the 49ers' personnel choices early in the game baffled me some. The 49ers went two-plus quarters before running one snap from the Frank Gore-friendly base offense featuring fullback Moran Norris, two receivers and one tight end.

The 49ers did not turn to their base offense in a meaningful way until after Smith's 12-yard scoring pass to Josh Morgan closed the deficit to 20-13. Gore immediately busted a 37-yard run, followed by a 6-yard run, from this grouping. Smith failed to complete a pass in his only three attempts from base personnel, but it's not like he was consistently effective from any of the other groups, either.