49ers beat the Raiders but still look sloppy

The 49ers win their third preseason game, and Frank Gore and Brian Westbrook get their first game action, but Michael Crabtree sits again with a stiff neck.

OAKLAND, Calif. – It's a good thing for the San Francisco 49ers that their coach is a hard man to please.

After their 28-24 preseason victory over the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, Mike Singletary said it was "nice" to get the win. He also said this:

"We played hard; we did not play very smart. We were a little bit sloppy."

For every good thing the 49ers did in picking up their third preseason win, it seemed they also did a few things poorly. Their pass defense was horrendous. They had too many penalties. They didn't take advantage of early scoring opportunities.

After giving up 21 points through the first 2½ quarters, Singletary actually considered sending his first-unit defense back onto the field.

"We really didn't do a good job playing consistently, not being the defense that we're talking about being and striving to be," he said. "Mistakes, miscommunication – that just can't happen. We have to clean that up."

Here's what lingers from the game:

1. Wide receiver Michael Crabtree was a late scratch after reporting more stiffness in his neck. Crabtree practiced during the week and was supposed to play for the first time in the preseason, but Singletary nixed the idea. "The trainer came and told me that Crabtree's neck was a little stiff but that he was going to go out and try it," the coach said. "I told him I didn't want him to try it – take his stuff off and we'll make sure we continue to get him well and get him 100 percent."

2. Running back Frank Gore played for the first time and had 58 yards on two carries, including a 49-yarder the first time he touched the ball. "I was hyped up from the start," Gore said. "Being in camp for a whole month and playing the other guys, I was like a little kid out there. I couldn't wait until my number got called." Yes, he lobbied to keep playing, but Singletary rejected the idea.

3. Newly acquired Brian Westbrook also had two carries and gained 17 yards – all of them coming on a draw play that showed his cutback ability. But he came out after tweaking a hamstring injury that cramped up. "You see Brian Westbrook run one time and you've seen enough of him," Singletary said.

4. Rookie Phillip Adams may have locked up the punt return job after returning a second-quarter punt 83 yards up the middle for the Niners' first touchdown. "It was nice to see him have the confidence in catching the ball and then have the wherewithal to take off up the field and follow his blocking," Singletary said.

5. Linebacker Patrick Willis was phenomenal again, totaling seven tackles, one sack and three tackles for loss. And backup linebacker Travis LaBoy again make his case for a roster spot by nailing Raiders QB Jason Campbell for a sack in the second period. Campbell had to leave the game on a cart.

6. One area of concern: penalties. The 49ers were called 10 times for 82 yards.

7. The Raiders finished with 331 yards in total offense and averaged 6.5 yards per offensive play. "On a lot of plays where they had big gains, it was because of mental errors," linebacker Takeo Spikes said. "That's why (Singletary) wanted to send us back out there. That's what the preseason is for, to work out the kinks. If they're going to happen, let them happen now."

8. Starting quarterback Alex Smith put up some good numbers (9 of 15 passing for 113 yards, a 105.7 passer rating), but the 49ers stalled on their first few drives: a missed field goal by Joe Nedney, a three-and-out, a Nedney field goal of 28 yards and then a touchdown on a Smith-to-Josh-Morgan pass for 16 yards.

9. One other injury: Left tackle Joe Staley left the game with a right knee strain but should be OK. He was seen walking on the sideline the rest of the game.

Niners Digest Top Stories