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The Singletary effect: 49ers defense, final

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

Our look at the 49ers' offense under Mike Singletary showed a scoring drop of about 2.5 points per game after Mike Nolan's firing.

That made sense given Singletary's emphasis on playing more conservatively.

Fewer turnovers meant putting less pressure on the defense, one reason the 49ers allowed 7.4 fewer points per game once Singletary took over.

The chart highlights that change, among others.

The cells with blue shading reveal a drop in red-zone defense. The Cowboys, Jets and Redskins combined to score seven touchdowns on eight possessions inside the 49ers' 20-yard line.

Holding the Bills to three points in Week 13 helped knock down the points per game allowed. The 49ers held five of nine opponents below 17 points once Singletary took over. They held only one team below 23 points when Nolan was head coach, in part because they played teams with better offenses early in the season (Saints, Patriots, Eagles, Giants).