Around the NFC West: Singletary testy

Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando

John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle says 49ers coach Mike Singletary bristled when asked about the team's prospects within the division after falling further behind the Cardinals. Singletary: "I don't care about the Cardinals! I care nothing about the Cardinals! I care nothing about anything else that's happening in the NFL. The only thing I care about is this team realizing that we can win games if we do not kill ourselves. It's as simple as that. I don't care about the Cardinals. Done." In other words, Singletary cares very much about the Cardinals and the gap separating the 49ers from them.

Also from Crumpacker: says the 49ers' inability to contain Titans running back Chris Johnson proved costly. Crumpacker: "Patrick Willis, the fastest linebacker from the draft class of 2007, spent a long afternoon chasing Johnson on the way to 10 total tackles." Willis: "You've got to give credit when it's due. He's fast. There's no other way you can look at it. He got some angles on us today and used his speed to his advantage. He's exceptionally fast. He can run."

Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle asks whether the Titans were simply a better team than the 49ers.

Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat breaks down the 49ers' four turnovers against the Titans. "Total Ball Insecurity" was not what Singletary had in mind. Maiocco also takes a look at every player on the 53-man roster, noting that Isaac Bruce lost his starting job.

Also from Maiocco: a look at the 49ers' injury list, headed by safety Michael Lewis.

More from Maiocco: Willis says the 49ers are still playing for the playoffs.

Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee offers postgame notes, including one about Frank Gore's swollen eye. Barrows: "Gore was poked in the right eye and looked like a boxer who had gone 12 rounds. He said the poking occurred at the bottom of a pile in the first half. Gore never left the game and the injury didn't appear to affect his vision."

Also from Barrows: Wide receiver Jason Hill, a forgotten man through the exhibition season and beyond, caught two touchdown passes for the 49ers. Alex Smith: "He and I got a lot of work together the first six weeks of the season, working out there on the scout team together. I've got a trust in Jason, and it showed out there today."

More from Barrows: Singletary resembles Jack Nicholson on the witness stand in "A Few Good Men".

Daniel Brown of the San Jose Mercury News says no 49ers team has qualified for the playoffs after posting a 3-5 record to open a season.

Also from Brown: a touching story about the young cancer patient Vernon Davis befriended. Joseph Luna passed away at age 13.

Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News sensed a "nervous hush" pervading the 49ers' organization following their defeat to the Titans. Kawakami: "The players aren't quitting or splitting into rival factions. They still are totally Singletary's players, and this remains a tightly bound team. In fact, Willis spent five minutes huddled with Alex Smith in the locker room after the game to make sure Smith knew the defense still supported him. But they're losing, including Sunday to a team that started the season 0-6. They're making errors. They're in flux. They're under pressure. They're antsy."

Gary Peterson of Bay Area News Group asks whether Smith regressed. Peterson: "The 49ers tried it the Shaun Hill way, a safety-first approach from a quarterback with modest skills. Smith offers just the opposite -- a bigger upside and more risk. The belief is that the risk can be managed, and it's difficult to argue considering Smith has played just 10 quarters of football the past two years."