TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
NFL

49ers coach Harbaugh says team trying to regroup from loss

{eot}
Associated Press
12/24/2012 6:00:46 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jim Harbaugh kept his sentences short and information at a minimum Monday, repeating a phrase he will rely on following the worst loss of his NFL coaching career: regroup, refit and reorganize.

That's all the San Francisco 49ers can do at this point.

Beat up and down, San Francisco's 42-13 blowout loss at Seattle cost the 49ers (10-4-1) more than just a game. They have another pair of key starters questionable with injuries, let control of a first-round playoff bye slip away, and head into Sunday's regular-season finale at home against Arizona (5-10) with a half-game lead in the NFC West.

"No excuses or justifications," an overwhelmingly grim, tight-lipped and humbled Harbaugh said back at 49ers headquarters. "Our team needs to bounce back."

The only way the 49ers can secure a No. 2 playoff seed -- and the first-round bye that comes with it -- is a win against the Cardinals coupled with a Green Bay loss at Minnesota. If they lose and Seattle (10-5) wins at home against St. Louis, the Seahawks will steal the division and send San Francisco on the road for the first round.

Complicating matters even more, the 49ers enter the finale with their depth depleted.

Wide receiver Mario Manningham, bothered by a shoulder injury previously, limped out of the locker room Monday on crutches. He was scheduled to have an MRI exam on his left knee after he was tackled low by Leroy Hill and fumbled in the third quarter.

Tight end Vernon Davis must clear the league's NFL concussion protocol after getting knocked off his feet along the sideline by safety Kam Chancellor on a huge hit that looked legal but drew a penalty for thumping a defenceless receiver.

And defensive lineman Justin Smith's streak of 185 straight starts ended when he sat out with an elbow injury. Harbaugh remained mum on Smith's status, except for saying "he has not undergone a procedure." Asked if Smith will need surgery at some point, Harbaugh would only say "we'll see."

San Francisco already had lost backup running back Kendall Hunter (lower leg), wide receiver and punt returner Kyle Williams (left knee) and defensive lineman Demarcus Dobbs (right knee) to season-ending injuries. Defensive lineman Will Tukuafu added to Harbaugh's headaches when he hurt his back against the Seahawks and did not return, and backup linebacker Clark Haggans missed the game with a shoulder injury.

"I feel our team's leadership, I feel the intellect of the staff, I think the talent of the players, the work ethic of the players will pave the way," Harbaugh said.

There are still plenty of problems for the 49ers who are healthy.

Seattle's loud fans flustered quarterback Colin Kaepernick and the coaching staff from the start, forcing the 49ers to call two timeouts and get two delay-of-game penalties in the first half alone. Kaepernick completed 19 of 36 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with one interception in the end zone.

What do the 49ers have to do offensively to avoid penalties and clock-management problems?

"Fix it," Harbaugh said.

"That's the only option we have," left tackle Joe Staley said. "You learn from the film, you watch it and make the corrections. Our whole team didn't play well."

Frank Gore was held to 28 yards on six carries after rushing for a season-high 131 in San Francisco's 13-6 win against Seattle in Week 7. The loss of Justin Smith seemed to affect the entire defence, and Russell Wilson's slipperiness in the pocket didn't help. Aldon Smith is still stuck on 19 1/2 sacks after getting locked up by Seattle's Russell Okung.

Red Bryant also blocked David Akers' 21-yard field-goal attempt, Richard Sherman scooped up the ball and sprinted untouched for a 21-0 lead that put the game out of reach.

"Rather than go position by position, or any one particular phase, I don't think anybody looks back on this and feels like it was good enough," said Harbaugh, handed a miserable loss on his 49th birthday by longtime rival and Seattle coach Pete Carroll.

If there's a bright side to San Francisco's setback, Harbaugh is 7-0 after a loss in his two-year tenure and competition will not be nearly as difficult as the last two weeks at Seattle and New England.

The 49ers routed the Cardinals 24-3 in the desert on a Monday night in late October, a game Alex Smith completed 18 of 19 passes for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Smith has since been replaced by Kaepernick, a high-risk, high-reward, dual-threat quarterback who is 4-2 as the starter.

While the 49ers also have looked dominant at times this season, they have yet to put together a winning streak. Five times this season San Francisco has won two consecutive games, and five times they have failed to win the third game, including a 24-24 tie against St. Louis in Week 10.

To win the Super Bowl -- or even just get there -- the 49ers will have to change that.

"It was a punch in the face," cornerback Carlos Rogers said of the loss in Seattle. "But the thing about it is we still have a chance to win the division and we're in the playoffs. It's a new season once the playoffs start."

NOTES: The 49ers released LB Alex Hoffman-Ellis from the practice squad. He had been signed on Dec. 4.... Players are off Tuesday for Christmas.

NaVorro Bowman (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story

NFL Top Prospects

Take a look at each prospect's average draft position and most likely landing spot based in TSN.ca's Mock Draft ADP. More...


TSN Digital's Mock Draft | Top prospects; Canadians



Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.


Check out ReOrientation - TSN's special three-part feature examining athletics and homosexuality.


More about ReOrientation

CFLers in the NFL

Check out the full list of players with CFL experience now playing in the NFL. More...

Podcasts

TSN 1050: TSN Drive with Dave Naylor: April 15 - Tim Graham

Tim Graham provides an update on the potential sale of the Buffalo Bills , Donald Trump, when a new stadium will be built, and more.

TSN 1050: NFL Tonight: Andy McNamara and Carlan Gay: April 6th

Andy Mac and Carlan Gay break down the latest news in the NFL.

TSN 1050: NFL Tonight - Andrew Garda- March 27th

Andy McNamara chats with Andrew Garda, Bleacher Report NFL lead writer about Johnny Manziel, college quarterbacks, and NFL Free Agency.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television