SANTA CLARA, Calif. – One win does not make a season, but now that the San Francisco 49ers are no longer among the NFL's hopeless and winless, they face another challenge.
Are they overconfident?
The question isn't totally ridiculous. Fresh off Sunday's 17-9 victory over the Oakland Raiders, the 49ers are now beginning preparations to play the 0-5 Carolina Panthers, who have scored a league-low 52 points, on Sunday.
"I don't think this team will be overconfident by any means," quarterback Alex Smith said Monday. "Any time you're on the road and you have to go to the east coast, there's enough going on. I think we'll be confident, not overconfident. I think this team understands what we have to do to win and how we're going to win."
It took a while. The 49ers lost their first five games of the season and had to deal with drama on the practice field (Vernon Davis vs. Michael Crabtree) and on the sidelines (Smith vs. coach Mike Singletary). But the defense held the Raiders to three field goals and 179 total yards, and Smith threw for 196 yards without an interception.
"Football should be a fun game, but it's only fun when you win," Singletary said. "I think when things are going well and there's something different in the game, guys tend to make light of it or what have you. But it was good to see the guys have fun at any point yesterday. That was a good thing."
If the 49ers are going to make good on team president Jed York's promise to win the division, they understand there's no time to let up. Now that they've figure out how to win, they must keep doing it.
"I think it's important for all of us to understand where we are," Singletary said. "We have a chance to do something very special. We're fighting for our lives right now, and the vision that we have, it's very much alive. We're just going to take it one at a time and we'll go from there."
SPECIAL TEAMER: Safety C.J. Spillman, who was claimed off waivers last week from the San Diego Chargers, made an immediate impact in his first game. On the opening kickoff, he tackled Jacoby Ford at the Oakland 12-yard line, and later in the first quarter, he stopped Nick Miller for no yardage on a punt return, pinning the Raiders at their own 9.
The secret to special teams? "Be fast and physical," Spillman said. "Just try to beat them down the field so they can't block you. I feel like I should've had four tackles in the game. I'm still kind of mad about that."
ROSTER MOVES: The 49ers placed safety Curtis Taylor on injured reserve and promoted rookie safety Chris Maragos from the practice squad. Taylor suffered a torn quad muscle in the previous week's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Maragos, who played at Wisconsin, was not drafted.
INJURIES: Tight end Vernon Davis sustained a knee injury Sunday and was scheduled to have an MRI on Monday. Singletary indicated the MRI is precautionary to "make sure everything is stable." Also listed on the team's injury report: CB Nate Clements (knee contusion), LB Manny Lawson (rib contusion), WR Josh Morgan (thigh contusion), LB Parys Haralson (calf bruise) and DE Justin Smith (cut hand). All, including Davis, are day to day, Singletary said.