Good week getting better for Nolan and Niners
Earlier in the week, the 49ers were the talk of the NFL after upsetting defending NFC champion Seattle for their third consecutive win, a victory that puts San Francisco on the edge of playoff contention in a wide-open conference. On Wednesday, after it was announced tailback Frank Gore is the NFC's Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season, Nolan also joined the honors list when the league announced he has been named NFL Coach of the Week for games played Nov. 19-20. Nolan was selected by voters on NFL.com, winning out over this week's two other finalists, Bill Parcells of the Dallas Cowboys and Marty Schottenheimer of the San Diego Chargers. Nolan said late Wednesday afternoon that he hadn't even heard about the honor until he spoke to St. Louis writers earlier in the day. The 49ers (5-5) attempt to win four games in a row for the first time since 2001 when they travel to play the Rams (4-6) on Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome. "It is very flattering, but it is certainly a reflection of the team and the coaching staff," Nolan said of the recognition, "and that's a compliment. That's all I can say." Nolan, wearing a black suit, white shirt and 49ers-colored striped tie, guided the 49ers to a 20-14 victory that snapped San Francisco's six-game losing streak against the Seahawks and also lifted the 49ers to the .500 level in November for the first time since 2003. Nolan's coaching specialty is defense, and the 49ers stuffed the Seahawks during the first two quarters while jumping to a 20-0 halftime lead. San Francisco's defense forced five Seattle turnovers and recorded two sacks as the 49ers moved into sole possession of second place in the NFC West, one game behind the Seahawks. Nolan recognizes that the attention and accolades the 49ers are receiving this week is an indication of how his rebuilding program is being perceived in a more positive light throughout the league and general public. "Without question," Nolan said. "But I've known that for a while. You hear one thing in the (San Francisco) Bay Area, but as a league-wide thing, I think people have thought that we're doing a lot of good things and the right things. But it takes a little bit of time to get it to start to show. And, hopefully … We'll see where it goes. I'd like to look back when the year's over and be able to see where we're really at as opposed to now." After a 2-12 start last year in his debut season with the 49ers, Nolan now is 7-5 in his last dozen games, and NFL types aren't the only people noticing. So are the masses. Nolan also had the highest approval rating this week in ESPN's SportsNation NFL Head Coach Approval Ratings. As of late Wednesday afternoon, Nolan had a 96 percent approval rating for Week 11 games. He also had received more than 5,400 votes - almost twice as many as Chicago's Lovie Smith, who is second in this week's approval ratings.
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