NFL Nation: 49ers-Giants
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee sees the 49ers' game against Seattle as a potential must-win for coach Mike Nolan.
Also from Barrows: Nolan is suddenly open to considering a change at quarterback after J.T. O'Sullivan suffers through another turnover-plagued performance.
More from Barrows: Manny Lawson says his surgically repaired knee hasn't bothered him all season, one reason the linebacker blocked another field-goal try.
Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says O'Sullivan remains the 49ers' best option at quarterback, which isn't saying much.
Chrissy Mauck of 49ers.com checks in with Frank Gore after the running back's least productive game as a full-time starter.
Also from Mauck: Josh Morgan provides one of the few bright spots for the 49ers.
John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says the Giants didn't need to be at their best to beat the mistake-prone 49ers. Nolan cites a lack of discipline.
Also from Crumpacker: A report card singling out special-teams coach Al Everest for praise.
More from Crumpacker: Morgan became the second receiver in two-wide personnel groupings, a change for the 49ers. Also, Allen Rossum's first-quarter injury hurt the return game.
More from Crumpacker: A closer look at how the 49ers set up the blocked field goal. Tully Banta-Cain noticed the Giants' guards were going low, one reason Lawson was able to jump over the top for the block.
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat quotes Nolan as saying the 49ers aren't headed in the right direction. A home loss to Seattle in Week 8 might be enough to seal Nolan's fate.
Also from Maiocco: The 49ers are the first team in NFL history to return blocked field goals for touchdowns in consecutive games. Meanwhile, Nolan offers a "fuzzy" explanation for not using a timeout when the team had three remaining.
More from Maiocco: O'Sullivan gets an "F" on the postgame report card.
Dan Brown of the San Jose Mercury News gives O'Sullivan a "D" on his report card.
Also from Brown: Another look at Morgan's reemergence, plus a classic note about how the Giants' game-day program listed Mike Holmgren as the 49ers' head coach. Ouch!
More from Brown: O'Sullivan joins Nolan on the hot seat.
More from Brown: A bad game for the Giants beats what the 49ers might offer on a good day.
John Ryan of the San Jose Mercury News points to the Rams' success after a coaching change in suggesting the 49ers should fire Nolan.
Ann Killion of the San Jose Mercury News uses the word "inept" to describe the 49ers' franchise, ownership, coach and quarterback.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The 49ers can keep talking about close defeats and not getting blown out, but at some point the team needs to win a game.
It wasn't going to happen against the Giants at the Meadowlands.
Quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan tossed two more interceptions. Yes, one was on a pass delivered as the first half ended.
But he lost a fumble for a safety late in the game, and the 49ers struggled again on third down. Frank Gore never got going on the ground.
The 49ers should bounce back at home against the Seahawks in Week 8, but there are no guarantees with O'Sullivan turning over the football. A loss to Seattle would mark five defeats in a row, a tough way for coach Mike Nolan to head into the bye week.
Trusting the Giants' Eli Manning is a lot easier than trusting the 49ers' J.T. O'Sullivan, even after Manning tossed three picks against the Browns in Week 6. That's where this game hinges.
Defenses are forcing O'Sullivan into interceptions at a furious rate. O'Sullivan has thrown seven picks in his last three games. The 49ers are 0-3 largely as a result.
The solution -- handing the ball to Frank Gore more frequently when the 49ers are leading -- appears almost too obvious. Look for that story line to get a rest this week. The Giants have the offensive line and playmaking ability to take the lead and force the 49ers into obvious passing situations. The combination should fuel a lopsided Giants victory.
Turnovers can be the great equalizer, something the Rams proved against the Redskins in Week 6. I just don't see the 49ers winning the turnover battle. The 49ers lead the NFL with 15 giveaways. The Giants rank third with only four.
The Rams are playing with an edge that helped them upset the Redskins while also nearly costing them the game. While they don't need any more 15-yard penalties from guard Richie Incognito, the new attitude players are showing under Jim Haslett does give them a chance to compete and possibly pull an upset.
It's probably wise to discount what the Rams had become under Scott Linehan. Their talent was better than that. The Rams thought their defensive line would provide a strong pass rush this season. I just question whether the Rams can score enough points to put the Cowboys in obvious passing situations.
This is a game Dallas should win even without Tony Romo. But the Cowboys can't take the outcome for granted. The Rams will beat teams that underestimate them.
Seneca Wallace probably gets the start at quarterback for Seattle. A calf injury figures to limit his mobility, which was one of his strengths. I also question whether Wallace will be sharp enough after missing so much practice time in recent weeks.
The Seattle passing game simply isn't functioning at a high enough level for the Seahawks to beat good teams, particularly on the road. It's a stretch to think that will change dramatically with Wallace replacing Charlie Frye.
The Bucs think big-play receiver Joey Galloway has a chance to return from injury this week. That's fitting from a Seattle perspective. The Seahawks' defense is giving up big pass plays and Galloway -- traded by Seattle in 2000 -- figures to find openings deep downfield.
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