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Rams end 49ers' playoff hopes with 25-17 win

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Rams end 49ers' playoff hopes with 25-17 win

Dec. 26, 2010
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ST. LOUIS (AP) While Mike Singletary and Troy Smith squabbled on the sideline, rookie Sam Bradford stayed veteran calm.
NEWS: Source: Singletary will not return as head coach
The No. 1 overall draft pick helpedkeep the St. Louis Rams' playoff drive motoring along, also breakingPeyton Manning's NFL rookie record for completions in a 25-17 victoryover the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.Eclipsing Manning's 12-year-oldrecord was nice. Helping the Rams (7-8) stay on track to end afive-year playoff drought in a winner-take-all game for the NFC Westtitle next week is a much bigger deal. RELATED: NFL Standings
"I guess it's pretty cool," Bradfordsaid of the record. "I'm all fired up about the win. If you don't getexcited for a game like this, you're probably in the wrong business."The Rams' defense kept both of theSmiths on the run, sacking Troy Smith and Alex Smith two times apiece.Singletary gave Troy Smith one more series after a heated exchange latein the third quarter, then benched him after the 49ers (5-10) wentthree-and-out on their first possession of the fourth quarter.The 49ers were eliminated from playoff consideration, and haven't made it to the postseason since 2002."Troy's a passionate guy and the way he responded, that's fine," Singletary said. "He's frustrated, I'm frustrated."We're both trying to get something to happen on the field. That's all it was."The 49ers' locker room was closed forabout 20 minutes after the game before Singletary emerged, saying hehad no regrets about his quarterback choice. RELATED: 49ers notebook: In need of a QB, too
"As the head coach, the mostimportant quality for me is to be able to make a decision and be ableto live or die with it," Singletary said. "And not to turn around andblame it on somebody else."Singletary is 18-22 with two yearsto go on a four-year contract and wasn't sure if he'd be back, saying"I don't know, that's not my decision."The Rams finished 5-3 at home, thefranchise's first winning record since 2004. They were 2-22 combinedthe previous three seasons.The 49ers were 1-7 on the road,where they were outscored 200-117. They appeared to sag after missing achance to take a 17-15 lead late in the third quarter when Jeff Reedshanked a 34-yard field goal attempt.Troy Smith passed for 356 yards in the 49ers' overtime victory over the Rams last month, but did not play the last two games. REWIND: T. Smith, 49ers overcome penalties, Rams in OT
"I wouldn't say there was a lot ofdifferences, but you've got to give St. Louis credit," Smith said."Defensively, they do a lot of things to put the quarterback and teamin a not-so-comfortable situation."James Hall had 1 12 sacks for adefense that totaled four, including a safety in the first quarter whenTroy Smith fumbled a poor shotgun snap in the end zone. Troy Smith was2 for 3 for 85 yards on a second-quarter drive capped by a 60-yardtouchdown pass to Michael Crabtree, but was only 7 for 19 for 153 yardswhen Alex Smith replaced him midway through the fourth quarter.Bradford broke out of a three-gameslump of no touchdown passes and five interceptions. He was 16 for 20for 168 yards the second half, including a 3-yard pass to LaurentRobinson that made it 22-14 with 9:36 to go, and finished 28 for 37 for292 yards with no interceptions.The 49ers stuffed the run, limiting Steven Jackson to 48 yards on 24 carries.Bradford has 335 completions,topping Manning's record of 326 in 1998. He passed Chris Weinke forsecond in rookie attempts with 550, needing 26 in next week's finale toeclipse Manning.The Rams scored on their first drivefor only the second time, benefiting from an interference call on NateClements, with Jackson scoring from the 1 on the next play.Josh Brown kicked three field goalsfor St. Louis, giving him 11 the last three games, and has matched hiscareer season best with 31.The 49ers led 14-12 at the half even though they totaled three first downs and 82 yards in penalties.Ginn was untouched on the puntreturn for the 49ers' first score in the second quarter. San Franciscohad no return yards on 10 punts by Donnie Jones in the first meetingNov. 14 in San Francisco.St. Louis went up 9-0 late in thefirst quarter on the safety, but then went three-and-out on threestraight series while the 49ers caught their stride.Notes: On their opening possession,the Rams have scored two touchdowns and three field goals, along withseven punts, two lost fumbles, and a blocked field goal. ... 49ers CDavid Baas injured his left ribcage in the first quarter but returnedlate in the second quarter in time for the 49ers' lone touchdown drive.... Ginn returned two kickoffs for touchdown last year with Miami, andscored on a punt return for the Dolphins in 2007. ... 49ers backup CBPhillip Adams broke his left ankle blocking on the kickoff to open thesecond half. Adams was carted off.

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

Shanahan expects 'everyone in our building to be pissed off' after loss to Denver

After a couple of practices and one exhibition game against the Denver Broncos, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan once again came to the realization things are often not as good or bad as they seem.

That was his takeaway a day after the 49ers provided the Broncos with five giveaways to go along with 11 penalties in a 33-14 loss at Levi’s Stadium.

“But when I get in and watch the tape, it wasn’t quite as bad as it felt,” Shanahan said Sunday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “When you look at each situation, especially when you talk about the ones on offense, it takes 11 guys to execute a play, and if you have one guy off a little bit, it breaks down.”

A couple of passes that could have been caught, a ball that slipped out of quarterback Brian Hoyer’s hand and some other correctable errors gives Shanahan reason to be optimistic.

When he spoke to the media on Saturday night after the game, Shanahan was clearly upset with how his 90-man team performed. He was asked a day later if it was a relief to watch the film and come to the conclusion that not everything was a total disaster.

“It’s not really relief,” Shanahan quipped. “It’s kind of my life story.

“We put a lot into it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a scrimmage, practice or preseason. I try to compose myself by the time I talk to you guys (the media) after practice. But I’m pretty pissed after practice when it doesn’t go well. We’re competitive guys and we want everything to be perfect. That’s why most of the time I’m not that happy.”

Shanahan said he expects everyone in the organization to hold themselves to the same high standard.

“Whenever you go out to a game like that, you want to win, you want to play well,” he said. “And you turn the ball over like that and you have the penalties that we did, I’m definitely going to be pissed off and I expect everyone in our building to be pissed off. If they’re not, that’s when I would be worried.”

Shanahan said he had the opposite feeling after the practice Wednesday against the Broncos that looked like a decisive win for the 49ers. Upon review, Shanahan said he felt there was still a lot of room for improvement.

“I thought things seemed real good at practice our first day versus them,” he said. “Then, I go in and watch the film and it was good but not quite as good as I felt when I was out there.”

49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

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49ers could get presumptive starting free safety back soon

The 49ers could get their presumptive starting free safety back on the field this week.

Jimmie Ward, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since sustaining a hamstring injury during a conditioning test on the eve of training camp, will go through strenuous workouts Monday and Tuesday.

Ward could be cleared to return to practice as early as Wednesday, when the club is scheduled to hold its next practice.

Coach Kyle Shanahan said Sunday in a conference call with reporters that defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley will will pace him through a football-related workout on Monday and Tuesday.

"Hopefully, we'll get him ready to go by Wednesday," Shanahan said.

The 49ers envision Ward, a first-round draft pick in 2014, as a major contributor in the team’s new 4-3 scheme, which is based on Seattle’s defense. With strong safety Eric Reid playing close to the line of scrimmage, Ward will play the deep safety – a role that Earl Thomas has played for the Seahawks.

In Ward’s absence, undrafted rookie safety Lorenzo Jerome started the 49ers’ first two exhibition games and appears to have played his way into solid position for a spot on the 53-man roster.

"Lorenzo has done a good job," Shanahan said. "I think a couple of times he's ran around and been a ballhawk for us and made some tackles. I thought they caught him a few times out of position last night on a few play-action looks because he's been so aggressive. He's going to have to learn from those, but they never made him pay for those by going outside."

QUICK SLANTS
--The 49ers will have days off on Monday and Tuesday as they settle into their regular-season routine.

--Shanahan said he has been formulating ideas for the game plan against Carolina in Week 1 of the regular season. So as the 49ers play the exhibition games, they are mindful of not showing too much.

"I never get too far away from that," Shanahan said. "Everything we put into a preseason game, you always try to take into account what you’re going to be doing in the regular season."

--Shanahan said he thought No. 1 quarterback Brian Hoyer "did a good job." He said the first throw intended for Vance McDonald over the middle was thrown a little late.

"Besides that, I thought he did a good job with his reads and went to the right spots," Shanahan said.

Rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard also was on-point with his reads, Shanahan said.

--Eli Harold got the start Saturday night at outside linebacker position, as he competes with Ahmad Brooks for a job.

"I try to go off what I see in practice," Shanahan said. "You want to know who has more upside, things like that. Who's going to get better throughout the year if given the opportunity? But you also want to know, when it's all said and done, who is going to affect your win-loss record the most. Those are the things I look at personally."

--Former 49ers receiver Anquan Boldin announced his retirement on Sunday. Shanahan never coached him, but he was obviously a big fan.

"I've personally met Anquan or talked to him before, but he has been one of my favorites of all time," Shanahan said. "I love Anquan. I don't know him at all, but I feel like I do because I've always studied how he plays. I remember watching him in college when he came into Florida State as a quarterback and moved quickly to receiver his freshman year.

"And I remember him coming into the league and people thinking he wouldn't be as great because he didn't have a fast 40 time. And watching him play over the years. That's my definition of a football player. He's as violent of a receiver as there is, and I've always truly believed that receivers can really set the mentality of an offense. I feel lineman have no choice, they have to be tough. Running backs, if you're not tough, you're not going to make it in this league because you get hit every play. Quarterbacks got to hang in there. Receivers are the guys who can pick and choose a little bit. And when you have guys who play like Anquan, that just brings a whole different mentality to your offense that I think usually leads to teams that have chances to win Super Bowls."