Around the NFC West: Singletary adrift

Eric Branch of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says 49ers coach Mike Singletary could not remember a key decision to go for it on fourth down against Tampa Bay. Sometimes it seems as though Singletary cannot think straight, as though his linebacker instincts suspend his ability to gather his thoughts. Branch: "It's understandable that a coach may not be able to remember every detail in the aftermath of a dispiriting loss. Still, it wasn't a command performance from Singletary, the coach of a 3-7 team that had just been shut out at home for the first time in 33 years and, to hear quarterback Troy Smith explain it, had been outwitted by a defense that entered ranked 22nd in the NFL." Thirty-four games into the Singletary era, it's becoming increasingly clear the job is too big for him. Singletary doesn't seem to have what every credible coach must have: answers.

Also from Branch: further recitation of the baffling sequence with Singletary, against the backdrop of legendary former NFL coach Tom Landry.

More from Branch: Execution of that forgettable fourth-down sequence also proved instructive.

More yet from Branch: an "F" grade for the 49ers' offensive line.

Ray Ratto of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers' performance Sunday shows what happens when anyone dares to believe in the team. Ratto: "This whole act is done. The season, the Singletary Era, the myth of team-wide talent, the whole underpinning of the franchise. It’s starting over for the third time in eight years, because this is no longer plausible entertainment. And no, there will be no more references to the NFC West being comprehensively rancid, and therefore winnable. The 49ers are the prime reason why the NFC West is a four-team dumpster on fire."

Matt Maiocco of CSNBayArea.com says the 49ers had to waste another timeout while trying to make a decision on fourth down. These sorts of administrative issues have been the norm for the 49ers.

Also from Maiocco: Singletary made an ominous remark to players about finding out which ones were playing well enough to merit time on the field.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers' Vernon Davis questioned the team's offensive approach Sunday. Davis: "I don't think we attacked them the way we should have. I think we should have thrown more balls down field. ... But there were a lot of things we should have done differently."

Also from Barrows: The 49ers credited the Bucs' defensive scheme.

Taylor Price of 49ers.com says Singletary used the term "big setback" to describe his team's 21-0 home defeat to Tampa Bay. The offense has converted only three times in 23 third-down chances over the past two weeks.

Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News wonders how the 49ers should proceed at quarterback. Troy Smith: "When you're game-planning, it's on the blackboard. And when you put an 'X' on the blackboard, it doesn't move. But once you play a guy in real life, he spins, he moves, he's not going to stay in the same place. Tampa Bay was just that."

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says the 49ers' latest defeat affirms their status as frauds while sealing Singletary's fate as head coach. Kawakami: "Pointedly, Singletary was asked 16 questions during his postgame news conference, and in nine instances he said he couldn't give a detailed answer or offer an analysis without checking the film. Head coaches always say they have to check the film, but usually it's just to buy time to provide more palatable answers. With Singletary, you guess that he really didn't see or digest everything that just occurred right in front of him."

David White of the San Francisco Chronicle says Smith's supporting cast let him down.

Also from White: a report card placing blame on the 49ers' offensive line.

More from White: The 49ers benched safety Taylor Mays and didn't let fellow linebacker NaVorro Bowman play at all.

Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers had trouble against LeGarrette Blount, the rookie running back they tried to sign as an undrafted free agent. Kroichick: "In the second quarter, when Blount literally ran over 49ers linebacker Parys Haralson -- no scrawny dude at 6-foot and 255 muscular pounds -- Tampa Bay's Barrett Ruud heard the collision from the bench. It was so loud, Ruud soon gazed at the scoreboard replay to see what happened."