Singletary: 'Questionable' calls in loss to Seahawks
JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer
SANTA CLARA (AP) — Mike Singletary is a little miffed by the number of calls he deemed "questionable" during San Francisco's loss at Seattle on Sunday.
Enough so that the 49ers coach planned to write a letter to the league office stating his case, something he does regularly but this time it will be longer than usual.
"Every week we send a letter to the league about different calls that are made or not made in a game," Singletary said Monday. "Just to say this week, there will be several paragraphs that will be going to the league."
Now, Singletary insists he doesn't want to sound like a sore loser here — he acknowledges the Niners (5-7) didn't make nearly enough plays to win — but he is going to stick up for his team on the heels of another narrow, heartbreaking road loss in which the 49ers again found ways to beat themselves.
This time, it was 20-17 to the Seahawks. That came after a six-point loss at Green Bay on Nov. 22, an 18-14 defeat at Indianapolis on Nov. 1 and a 24-21 setback at Houston before that.
The 49ers must regroup for next Monday night's home game against Arizona.
"Frustrated is a great word," Singletary said in summing up how he's feeling. "You go out and you play a game like yesterday and you end up on the losing side, the only thing you tell your players is that we just have to stay together. We have to continue moving forward. The ground work from this, somehow, someway, will be a positive for us going forward, but right now it doesn't feel that way."
San Francisco outgained Seattle 356-292 but hurt its cause with eight penalties for 57 lost yards. Still, Singletary thought the officiating could have been more even.
"The one thing about coach Singletary is he's going to express the way he feels," tight end Vernon Davis said. "There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. If that's what he feels he wants to do, then so be it. Let him do it. He's got our backs."
In terms of specific plays Singletary will point out in the note, Singletary said, "There were many."
One such example came in the waning seconds of the game. 49ers cornerback Keith Smith was covering the right sideline on Deon Butler's 32-yard reception from Matt Hasselbeck with 12 seconds left. That led to Olindo Mare's game-winning 30-yard field goal as time expired.
"Let me say this before I go too far down this road, obviously there were bad calls made and I think in every game there are bad calls made," Singletary said. "Yesterday, for me, there were just a few more than I had witnessed maybe since I've been in the league. I just want to make sure that our players, coaching staff, our fans, everybody involved with the 49ers, everybody that cares about the 49ers, understands that this is not about the referees. They didn't fumble the ball. They didn't throw interceptions. They didn't make bad plays, we did. So I don't want to put this on the referees. I certainly feel that some of those calls were questionable, but if we had done what we were supposed to do, we overcome that and we win the football game."
All these tough losses could be enough to break a rebuilding team that's trying to avoid a seventh straight losing season, though Singletary insists that won't happen and his players will finish strong over their final four games.
The 49ers know they blew many opportunities on a day Alex Smith had one of his best games yet, throwing for 310 yards and two touchdowns and completing 27 of 45 passes.
Davis caught one of those TD strikes for his 11th touchdown of the season and finished with a career-high 111 yards receiving.
"I think we did some good things. It's all kind of for nothing at this point, especially the day after walking away from the game," Smith said. "I really felt like we were capable of winning. We did some good things, not enough."
Smith isn't concerned about the 49ers losing their team mentality in the midst of all the discouraging defeats away from Candlestick Park.
"That's the strength of this team, that we do stay together," Smith said. "I think the character in this locker room, the guys that we have, the lack of finger-pointing, I think that's a strength that we have."
Left tackle Joe Staley's status is still uncertain, though he hopes to return from a right knee injury for Monday's game. Singletary said Staley would undergo another MRI exam to determine how his knee has healed. Staley has yet to practice, but could return to the field later this week.
Staley has been nursing a sprained right knee that he hurt during San Francisco's loss to the Colts. The team said he would likely miss a month and a half, so Monday would be about on target for him to be back.
"It feels good. It feels a lot better than it was," Staley said. "I haven't practiced yet, so I don't know what it's going to do. I'm going to be smart about it. I'm not going to go out there and expect to be full go."