Game notebook: Chargers 48, 49ers 19

Coach Mike Nolan was clearly upset earlier in the season when the 49ers appeared to be the victim of some questionable calls. Sure enough, the NFL called the 49ers to admit their officials blew three crucial plays in the Week 3 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles. Well, Nolan was not pleased with another questionable call in Sunday's 48-19 loss to the Chargers.

Nolan believed cornerback Sammy Davis had good position on a deep pass against Chargers receiver Malcom Floyd. But Davis was called for the penalty that netted the Chargers 41 yards and led to a second-quarter touchdown that helped San Diego pull away.

"I still think he's wrong but we'll see when we look on the film," Nolan said of the call. "I almost got flagged in return, so I wasn't pleased."

Nolan found at least one person to agree with him: Davis.

Making his first 49ers start, which happened to come against his former team, Davis said he thought he played the ball perfectly.

"I probably played it about as well as a corner can play it," Davis said. "I was looking back for the ball. I read the receiver's route, and I was up under him. I don't know why he threw the flag. I felt him (Floyd) climbing up my back. I thought it was going to be offensive pass interference. When he called it on the defense, I was really surprised."

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Strong safety Tony Parrish was not in the starting lineup for the first time in his nine-year career, as his rapid fall with the 49ers continues.

Parrish split time in the first five games of the season with Mark Roman, but on Sunday it was Roman who got the starting nod. Parrish has had difficulty regaining his status in the team's secondary since he sustained a broken leg in the ninth game last season.

"He was our starter today," Nolan said of Roman. "I'll look at the film and see if he remains that."

Parrish started the first 126 regular-season games in which he appeared, as well as three playoff games. His injury last season snapped a streak of 121 consecutive regular-season starts at the beginning of his career, the most for a defensive back since Herman Edwards' 135.

Roman was credited with three tackles and a pass broken up, while Parrish did not record a tackle.

"I care about wins and losses," said Roman, a seven-year player who signed July 27 with the 49ers. "Ultimately, what this game is about is wins and losses. It (first start with 49ers) doesn't matter when we lose like we did today. I don't feel any consolation."

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Second-year player Ronald Fields was back at his familiar nose tackle position after spending most of his time with the 49ers working at defensive end. He made his first start, ahead of Anthony Adams.

Fields responded with the best game of his career. He had five tackles. He also forced a safety when Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers was called for intentional grounding in the end zone while in Fields' grasp.

"I felt very comfortable in the position I was in because I was drafted as a nose guard," said Fields. He had been moved to defensive end before returning to nose guard. "It felt like I was back at home," he added.

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Although they were up against the top-ranked defense in the league, quarterback Alex Smith said the 49ers proved their offense has a lot of potential.

"When we do what we do and we execute, we can play with anyone," Smith said. "They're a good group, defensively, and in the first half we gave them a run for it. They had their hands full. We got to do a better job in the second half."

The 49ers moved the ball well in the first half against the league's top-ranked defense. The Chargers, who allowed an average of 204.5 yards in the first four games, surrendered 179 yards in the first half to the 49ers. The 49ers finished with 274 yards of total offense.

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The 49ers remain interested in signing free-agent defensive back Troy Vincent, whom the Buffalo Bills released last week. When asked if he has more interest after the way the 49ers' pass defense played, Nolan answered, "No, we were interested before the game."

He added, "I haven't had any contact with him. We certainly are interested in the player. Outside of that, I don't know as much as I'd like to know."

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Left tackle Jonas Jennings (hand), left guard Larry Allen (knee), tight end Vernon Davis (leg) and cornerback Walt Harris (hamstring) did not suit up for Sunday's game due to injuries. Roman (shoulder) and safety Keith Lewis (foot) sustained minor injuries during the game and were both listed as probable for the Oct. 29 game against the Bears.

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Right tackle Kwame Harris was called for two holding penalties, a false start and surrendered at least one sack. There has been speculation that Adam Snyder could take over for Harris when Jennings and Allen return. But Nolan said he would not answer any questions about possible lineup changes until he had a chance to view the game film.

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Smith threw his body around on a couple of blocks for receiver Bryan Gilmore, who twice came around for handoffs on reverses. Smith took 262-pound Chargers LB Shaun Phillips to the ground on Gilmore's 22-yard run. Later, he blocked LB Stephen Cooper on a play in which Gilmore ultimately lost a fumble at the end of a 9-yard gain.

Smith and Gilmore collaborated in a different way when they connected on a 15-yard touchdown pass to culminate San Francisco's first offensive drive of the game.

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After the bye week, the 49ers travel to face the Chicago Bears. That game looms as perhaps the most difficult challenge facing the team the remainder of the season. The 49ers have games remaining against less-formidable teams, such as Minnesota, Detroit, Green Bay and Arizona.

"Naturally, we've got some things we need to work on," Nolan said. "We're not where we want to be, but I really believe we've got some winnable games. Chicago, our next opponent, is a good opponent. We played pretty well against them last year at their place. We will see how we feel this year, but we are looking forward to that contest."


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