Davis calm again after Niners' loss


One day after he reacted to his only reception late in the 49ers' loss at New Orleans with what appeared to be a screaming diatribe at the San Francisco coaches, Davis insisted nothing was wrong that couldn't be fixed with another win or two -- oh, and maybe a few more passes for a player who's growing tired of blocking all the time.

"I was just fired up," said Davis, who didn't play again after his emotional display with six minutes left in the fourth quarter. "I didn't really say anything to the coaches. ... I'd love to get down the field a little bit more and catch passes. I love to catch passes more than blocking any day."

Davis is an inspired blocker when he wants to be, but the 49ers' offense foundered because it didn't have nearly enough protection for J.T. O'Sullivan. The 49ers quarterback was sacked six times and hurried on several additional plays to contribute to his unimpressive 18-of-36 performance with two interceptions and a fumble.

The San Francisco offense that's been revitalized under coordinator Mike Martz wasn't nearly as effective against the resourceful Saints, though the Niners still moved the ball fairly well for long stretches in a 312-yard performance. San Francisco's biggest struggles were on defense, where Drew Brees and the Saints carved up a previously strong secondary for 363 yards passing.

Coach Mike Nolan plans no changes to his defensive lineup, seeing faults that can be spread equally over the unit.

"The explosive plays that occurred (against the 49ers), they are inexcusable," Nolan said. "There are some mental lapses, mental errors. It wasn't like somebody got whipped on an all-out blitz. ... I thought we did some outstanding things defensively as far as (Reggie) Bush goes, I'm almost embarrassed to go to the positives. You ignore the positives sometimes when you lose."

The defensive line generated almost no rush against Brees, and the 49ers' infrequent blitzes were largely ineffective. Those problems contributed to the woes in the secondary, which gave up four plays of at least 33 yards -- a development that surprised safety Michael Lewis, who thought the 49ers' experienced defensive backfield was too solid to be hit downfield so regularly.

"We have to make sure our communication is 100 percent, and for some reason, it wasn't," Lewis said. "You don't want to take anything from the Saints, but when you see plays on film that you could have prevented, it's tough."

Linebacker Takeo Spikes didn't see any problems with communication, but instead agreed with Lewis' diagnosis of too many mental mistakes against the Saints' sharp offense. San Francisco also made mistakes in back-to-back wins over Seattle and Detroit, but those teams didn't make the Niners pay for it the way Brees did.

"Good run defense is one thing we were able to take out of it," said Spikes, who completed his takeover of Jeff Ulbrich's starting job by playing almost every snap at inside linebacker. "A lot of what we did wrong was technique, and then the other part was we were just trying to press and make plays. You open yourself up in other areas where you normally don't have to worry."

Notes:@ LB Manny Lawson is cautiously optimistic his strained left hamstring won't force him to miss any playing time. Lawson hurt himself while running downfield on kickoff coverage before hopping off the field on his right leg, but he was walking normally through the locker room Monday. "If things keep going the way it's going, I should be fine," he said. If Lawson can't play, Parys Haralson would play more. ... RT Barry Sims also will stay in the starting lineup after getting beaten for two sacks by Charles Grant, although Nolan intimated he had no other choice with questionable depth on the line. "We're kind of limited in what you can (do)," Nolan said.

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