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Rapid Reaction: 49ers 17, Rams 16

12/21/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

The 49ers are officially a new team under Mike Singletary. If there were any doubts, the 49ers erased them by scoring two late touchdowns to overcome a 13-3 deficit at the Edward Jones Dome.

This 49ers' effort was a bit like quarterback Shaun Hill -- not pretty, but ultimately effective. The 49ers were horrible for much of this game, but they delivered when the stakes were high. Coaches appeared close to benching Hill at one point, but sticking with him was the smart move -- and not only because of the ultimate result. Hill has done enough to finish the regular season as the starter. Benching him would have undercut Hill's longer-term efforts to lead the team.

Singletary has won four of his past six games as interim coach. A victory over the Redskins in Week 17 would make any decision to fire Singletary an unpopular one among fans and players.

The opposite is true for the Rams. They like Jim Haslett, but keeping him after nine consecutive defeats -- and a likely 10th on the road against Atlanta in Week 17 -- seems politically impractical as the team tries to win back fans.