Niners finding an identity

It took a bad-weather game to force them into the style, but the 49ers might have found their identity. They will likely use a similar no-nonsense mentality when they return home to Candlestick Park to face the New York Jets on Sunday.

"We want to be able to run the ball a lot," 49ers left tackle Joe Staley said. "We want teams to feel they have to commit more defenders to the box. That opens things up and creates the kind of mindset we're trying to establish."

In the 49ers' upset victory over the Buffalo Bills, offensive coordinator Mike Martz opened the game with five consecutive running plays to Frank Gore. The 49ers consequently marched down the field and scored the only touchdown of the game.

The rest of the game, the 49ers played it conservatively on offense to make sure they did not risk adding to their league-high number of turnovers.

Gore is clearly the centerpiece of the 49ers offense, but he knows he will have to perform a lot better on Sunday against the Jets. Gore carried 24 times for 66 yards. He also caught three passes for 23 yards. Gore was not pleased with his performance, especially a fumble after the 49ers had gotten into field-goal range.

"I feel like I could've played a lot better," Gore said. "I told my offensive line that I owe them. In that situation down in the red zone, I can't be putting the ball on the ground. I'll get better (Sunday)."

The 49ers appear to be buying into interim coach Mike Singletary's message. The 49ers played a rough-and-tumble style of game in defeating the Bills. Quarterback Shaun Hill did a fine job of managing the game.

The 49ers are 2-3 under Singletary. The defense finished the game strong against the Bills, routinely turning them away when they were threatening to score. The victory is exactly what the 49ers need to build a little momentum, Singletary said.

"It gives us confidence," Singletary said. "These guys are working hard. They're trying to do all the things that we're asking them to do. When you stay together and work together and fight together and win together, it's something that's very, very rewarding. Because they've been working so hard, it's one of those things that we're thankful for sticking together. "We just got to keep doing it."

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I hate (the term) spoiler. What it says is that you're team is not going anywhere. I don't have anything against a team that I don't want to see them in the playoffs because of us. But whichever team we're playing, we want to win because we want to win." -- Interim coach Mike Singletary

TRENDING: The 49ers have played inconsistently on defense. But one area of the team that has been good is its red-zone defense. The 49ers rank fifth in the league, allowing the opposition to score touchdowns just 42.2 percent of the time inside the red zone. The 49ers held the Bills to one field goal in four red-zone possessions in last week's 10-3 victory.

PLAYER/PERSONNEL NOTES

--- CB Nate Clements rebounded from a poor showing against the Dallas Cowboys a week earlier to put together a strong game for the 49ers against the Bills. Clements was a presence in run support with six tackles. He did not get many balls thrown his way.

--- DE Justin Smith had a strong all-around game with five tackles, 1.5 sacks, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.

--- WR Isaac Bruce put together his second strong game in a row. Bruce caught five passes for 67 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown grab to culminate the 49ers' game-opening drive. It was the only touchdown of the game.

--WR Jason Hill is making a bid to hold onto the job of the slot receiver even after injured Arnaz Battle returns. Hill caught five passes for 55 yards in Sunday's game. He caught a 15-yard pass on third-and-7 in the first quarter to provide a key play on the 49ers' eventual touchdown-scoring drive.

--WR Chris Hannon was activated from the practice squad to the active roster for Sunday's game. However, he did not see any action. He will likely be waived and placed back on the practice squad.


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