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Originally published September 12, 2010 at 9:17 PM | Page modified September 12, 2010 at 9:29 PM

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49ers coach Mike Singletary expects tough loss will help his team

Mike Singletary had a message for the Seahawks: Thank you. "Tell Pete Carroll thank you very much for kicking our tails," the San Francisco...

Seattle Times staff reporter

Mike Singletary had a message for the Seahawks: Thank you.

"Tell Pete Carroll thank you very much for kicking our tails," the San Francisco 49ers coach said after Seattle's 31-6 thrashing Sunday. "It was good medicine, and we're going to take it."

Singletary also had a message to 49ers fans bemoaning the performance of beleaguered Alex Smith.

"I do want you to understand this: Alex is our quarterback," Singletary said. "At no time did I think about putting (backup) David Carr into the football game."

And the Seahawks also had a message for Singletary: Thank you for staying with Smith.

"Once we controlled the run ... we put it into his hands," safety Lawyer Milloy said of Smith. "Vernon Davis is one of his go-to guys, and you take that (away) and you make him make decisions and you saw the outcome."

Smith completed 26 of 45 passes for 225 yards, but starting receivers Josh Morgan (32) and rookie Michael Crabtree (12) combined for 44 yards.

The Seahawks allowed Smith to dink and dunk early in the game for minimal gains, believing the much-maligned signal caller would crumble in the clutch.

Sure enough, on the game's first critical play — a fourth-and-one from the Seattle 6 — Smith rolled left, spotted fullback Moran Norris breaking free near the end zone and overthrew his target.

On the 49ers' next possession, they pushed to the Seahawks' goal line again but were unable to run a play before the play clock expired, getting a 5-yard penalty and settling for a 23-yard Joe Nedney field goal.

Singletary implied Smith's in-helmet radio malfunctioned, while Smith said the plays weren't relayed quickly enough from the sideline.

"The refs aren't waiting around to stop the (clock) based on what we decide to do," Smith said.

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Leading 6-0 late in the second quarter, Seahawks safety Jordan Babineaux intercepted a pass intended for Crabtree and returned it 20 yards to the San Francisco 13. Seattle scored on the next play.

The Seahawks scored again early in the third quarter after Marcus Trufant returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown, giving Seattle a 21-6 lead.

Once Seattle took a 15-point lead, San Francisco went away from running back Frank Gore and turned to Smith.

The Seahawks pass rushers zeroed in on Smith, sacking him twice and harassing him into errant throws.

"I don't know if he was drained, but I know that we were making it hard for him," Trufant said. "Just put pressure on him and try to not make it easy for him."

The 49ers (0-1) were picked to win the NFC West, and Singletary admitted the preseason hype might have been overblown.

"You win four preseason games and you start to feel pretty good about yourself," he said. "And you maybe you begin to read the press clippings a little bit and you begin to think about we got the division won. Obviously, we don't."

Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or pallen@seattletimes.com

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