49ers replay: Seattle rematch comes quickly
The 49ers saw their progress stunted with a 30-19 loss to the Packers, falling to 5-8 for the season. "We have a quick turnaround, so this is something we have to lose out of our mind sooner than later," 49ers receiver Antonio Bryant said. Quarterback Alex Smith has to demonstrate a short memory, as he put together his second poor performance in a loss. Against the Packers, Smith completed just 12 of 29 passes for 201 yards. He threw two interceptions, one of which killed momentum as the 49ers were trying to rally from a 17-3 first-half deficit. Smith has thrown seven interceptions and three touchdowns during the 49ers' current three-game slide. That has opened the discussion of whether Smith is regressing after opening the season impressively. "If you look at the stats, one would think so, statistically speaking," Smith said. "As far as seeing things, playing faster, making things happen, and making better decisions, I feel that I'm so far ahead that where I have been." Coach Mike Nolan said the mistakes the 49ers have made during their funk are not solely Smith's fault. "As a football team, we haven't played like we did prior to that," Nolan said. "I think it's more fair to say that, as a team, we aren't playing like we did in those three wins we had back-to-back-to back. As far as Alex, obviously he plays the most critical position on the team. He has spurts, also. I thought he made some good plays, but he also made some not-so-good plays." After the 49ers' consecutive victories over the Vikings, Lions and Seahawks improved their record to 5-5, the club has quickly fallen out of NFC playoff contention. Their loss to the reeling Packers was considered easily their most discouraging defeat of the season. "We thought we figured out how to get over that hump," 49ers defensive lineman Bryant Young said. "And we had some confidence with that three-game win streak. We experienced what it was like to put back-to-back-back wins together. And then we take a step back like we have." The 49ers' failings were equally distributed between offense and defense. The 49ers have failed to score more than 20 points in eight consecutive games. They managed only 19 points against the Packers, a team that had allowed 35, 34 and 38 points in the past three games to supplant the 49ers as the worst scoring defense in the league. "We have to decrease the mistakes," rookie tight end Vernon Davis said. "There were mistakes that were made out there that should not have been made -- just mistakes. We can't afford to make mistakes." The 49ers have only a few days of practice this week to correct them. The team had a light walk-through practice Monday afternoon, then will have a two-hour practice Tuesday and a 90-minute practice Wednesday before traveling north to play the Seahawks the next day. It's something Nolan and his staff have been making preparations for since the team's 2006 schedule was announced this spring. "This morning, we didn't put the same closure to the last game as we normally would do, because of the urgency in getting ready for the Thursday game," Nolan said Monday. "There has been more time spent this morning on Seattle than is typical for a Monday. "This offseason, knowing that we were going to have a Thursday game, I did quite a bit of research on it with the different teams that have done it. Naturally, Detroit and Dallas are two teams who do it every year because of Thanksgiving. We looked into it quite a bit. We're basically going to go by our early schedule that we used last year at the beginning of the season. We'll do an earlier schedule and then we'll come in and meet later. Our days will be abbreviated on the field. We'll be out in shells, instead of pads, so we'll be lighter there. There's a considerable amount of cut back going on, but you try to hit the normal game situations that you normally have." When asked if he was a fan of Thursday night games, Nolan answered yes and no. "If you win on Thursday, I say it's the greatest thing ever, because you get that long break after," Nolan said. "It's tough. It's tough on coaches, tough on players. That's why we have a game once a week. The game is physical. There are a lot of aches and pains that go with it. On a short week, getting back by Thursday, they'll have to take good care of themselves these next few days to get prepared for the Thursday game." After facing the Seahawks, the 49ers will have a break of 10 days before they play the Arizona Cardinals at Monster Park in San Francisco on Christmas Eve.
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