SANTA CLARA, Calif. – San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary didn't want to commit to keeping Troy Smith as his quarterback immediately after Sunday's 21-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. On Monday, he opted to stay the course.
Smith won his first two starts in place of an injured Alex Smith, but he struggled against the Bucs, completing 16 of 31 passes for 148 yards and one interception. He was sacked six times and didn't show the mobility he had shown previously.
"I just think that Tampa Bay had a couple of games of film on him and game planned some and really took away some of the things that he had done well," Singletary said. "There were still opportunities to make plays in the game, but fewer of them. And we just did not execute properly. That's really the bottom line."
Smith offered some credit to the Bucs, who came into the game with just eight sacks all season.
"The other team, they get paid also," he said. "They have tremendous players, tremendous athletes. You've got to give them their credit. Obviously within their film study, within their preparation, that was something they wanted to try to stop. They did some of that, but you've just got to keep plugging away. As an offense, you've got to be accountable."
Smith also conceded that Tampa Bay's sacks might have been because he held on to the ball too long.
"All of it was me," he said. "I control and dictate a lot of things as a quarterback, and definitely I talk about decision-making and where you're going with the ball. I talk time and time again that sometimes the best throw is a throwaway. If you can avoid a sack, if you can avoid a costly mistake, you do just that."
BOTTOM LINE: Speaking of accountability, Smith's sacks weren't entirely his own doing. The offensive line continued to struggle, particularly the right side, where guard Chilo Rachal and tackle Anthony Davis had problems and breakdowns.
But Singletary preferred not to be too critical of either player.
"I think Davis continues to make strides, and every now and then he does what a rookie will do as an offensive lineman," he said. "Has a breakdown here or there. I think Chilo, for the most part, is playing pretty decent football but every now and then will have a breakdown. So it's just something that we have to continue to work at."
Asked if he felt that backup lineman Adam Snyder might be a better choice at right guard, Singletary said, "Chilo is not playing just because we like him, just because he's the only guy we can put there. He's playing because we feel he gives us the best chance to win. Does he have breakdowns? Yes. He just has to continue to get better."
"I think it's something that we have to look at and evaluate more closely this week," he said. "Overall, I thought he did a pretty decent job."
NOTES: On the bright side, the 49ers committed just three penalties Sunday, a season low. … Through the season's first eight games, the 49ers gave up 14 quarterback sacks. In their past two, they've allowed 11. Their total is the league's seventh worst. … Since the NFL went to its current playoff format in 1990, three teams that started 3-6 went on to make the playoffs: the 1994 New England Patriots, the '95 Detroit Lions and the '96 Jacksonville Jaguars. But all of those teams won their Week 10 games, something the 49ers didn't do.