Liotta: After solid start, 49ers left to pick up the pieces

What a great weekend to forget about the 49ers. The bye gives Niners fans seven more days to rekindle the optimism generated by the three months leading up to last Sunday.

For all the praise Mike Singletary has received — and I have doled out my fair share — he deserves a few lumps for the debacle that was the game against the Falcons. Simply put, after that 45-10 beating, it’s fair to question any progress the 49ers appeared to have made.

Or what Singletary has actually instilled in his players.

Dre’ Bly? Inexcuseable behavior. A face-saving apology? Won’t be accepted here. He’s a veteran whose side was getting blasted when he made an insignificant interception, struck a pose, then had the ball stripped into a turnover — laughable.

And what about Josh Morgan? To me, he began to coast into the end zone at the end of what wound up a 61-yard pass play late in the first quarter. Sure, the Niners scored three plays later, but Morgan’s cruise-control finish was another sign of me-first football.

Nate Clements had a tough day trying to keep up with Roddy White, while Isaac Bruce did not make even a single catch. Both gave professional efforts. They just got beat.

And what about Singletary himself? He deserves plenty of blame. His staff was outcoached by their Atlanta counterparts who implemented a defensive scheme that befuddled the Niners the whole way.

Singletary also deserves a personal­ hit for poor use of first-half timeouts, which left him unable to challenge what may have been the game-turning play.

Down 21-10, the 49ers could have made the case the ground caused the fumble when Delanie Walker was separated from the football returning a second-quarter kickoff. Three plays later, the Falcons made it 28-10 and the rout was on.

If the Niner nation can get all this out of its system, the 49ers will simply be 3-2 and atop the NFC West Division.

Now that’s something to build on.

The Giants, meanwhile, hoping to build on the 88-win season that was 2009, began the project by bringing back general manager Brian Sabean and manager Bruce Bochy with two-year extensions.

I thought Bochy had a great year. This team really enjoyed playing together, and it was obvious the manager pushed a lot of the right buttons.

I thought Sabean had an only so-so 2009. His preseason moves to bolster the bullpen were clever and cost-effective. Randy Johnson was a push. His midseason additions of Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez were blatant busts down the stretch.

Sabean and the Giants continue to have a big bat issue. His lineup needs one. His budget, strangled tighter yet again by the noose known as Barry Zito’s contract, does not appear to have the waggle room to purchase the quality hitter he needs.

Once again, a Giant dilemma.

Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. E-mail him at tliotta@sfexaminer.com.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Supervisors vote to place storefront vacancy tax on March ballot

It’s official: San Francisco voters will have a chance March 3 to… Continue reading

CCSF slashes Spring and summer class schedules

College makes emergency cuts to stave off projected $13 million deficit

After 18 years, BART says it will finally reopen Powell Station bathrooms

BART plans to reopen its Powell Station restrooms in San Francisco for… Continue reading

New SFMTA director’s tweets show aversion to free parking, cars

The City’s new transit leader has a bumpy relationship with cars. Jeffrey… Continue reading

Former SF deputy sentenced to prison for fraud after reporting gun stolen

A former San Francisco sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to 14 months… Continue reading

Most Read