Around the NFC West: 49ers win ugly

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle gives the 49ers' coaches, led by Mike Singletary, high marks against the Cardinals.

Also from Crumpacker: The 49ers' pass rush exceeded outside expectations. Crumpacker: "It's a good thing for the 49ers that they played as well as they did on defense, because their offense was almost totally shut down by Arizona's eight- and nine-man defensive fronts, aimed at keeping Frank Gore down on the farm."

Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers will have a hard time succeeding over the course of a season without diversifying their offensive strategy. Ratto: "For the most part, [Jimmy] Raye, with Singletary's clear approval, wanted this to be a statement of future intentions -- we will run until you stop us, we will run while you stop us, and we will run after you stop us." The 49ers passed only when they needed to pass, and they succeeded during the 15-play winning touchdown drive.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle says Singletary set the tone for his team Sunday. Singletary: "Our formula is going to have to be work ethic and character. ... We're a team that has to emphasize the little things until we get the confidence to do the big things. Right now, that's where we are."

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says the 49ers aren't afraid to win ugly. Barrows: "Singletary has been telegraphing the game plan since December, when he announced his 49ers would be a run-heavy team. His offensive coordinator, Jimmy Raye, further tipped his team's hand when he said the 49ers wanted to run 60 percent of the time. But that's OK. The beauty of a power running team is its boldness: Opponents know what's coming and still can't stop it. What has to be a bit distressing to the 49ers, even after a win over the defending NFC champion, is Arizona knew what was coming and stopped them cold."

Also from Barrows: Parys Haralson and Justin Smith took turns harassing Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.

More from Barrows: The 49ers' offense did just enough.

Lowell Cohn of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says the 49ers' insistence upon running the ball so much nearly cost them victory, and only when they decided to pass more frequently did they win the game. Cohn: "In other words, Singletary almost blew the game for the Niners, but he didn’t because he wised up and ditched his loser philosophy. I praise him for that."

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says Adam Snyder struggled at right tackle for the 49ers, appearing to allow three sacks.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says there's nothing pretty about the 49ers. Kawakami: "This was a 49ers display of stubbornness, of principle, of trench-to-trench toughness, and yes, of pure proud ugliness in the cause of victory."

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News gives the 49ers' defense much credit for San Francisco's victory.

Also from Brown: The latest on Michael Crabtree.

More from Brown: a report card awarding a "B" grade to Shaun Hill.