Sports

49ers missing the point

SANTA CLARA -- For nine weeks now, 49ers coach Mike Nolan has been confronted by alarmingly low numbers after every outing by his struggling offense. One week it might be Alex Smith's shrinking completion percentage, another week Frank Gore's meager rushing totals.

At least the Niners' latest, lousiest statistic -- the number on the scoreboard -- can't go lower than zero.

The 49ers' progressively awful season reached another nadir in Monday night's 24-0 loss at Seattle, San Francisco's seventh consecutive defeat. While the defense forced two turnovers and stuck with the Seahawks, the 49ers' offense had another day of dysfunctional ineptitude in its burgeoning disaster of a season.

With Smith's 12-for-28 performance and just 79 yards from the rushing game, San Francisco (2-7) was shut out for the first time this season while managing just 173 total yards. The 49ers ran only 47 offensive plays, 30 fewer than the Seahawks, while getting just six first downs and going 1-for-15 on third and fourth downs.

"Despite our struggles, we had opportunities to make plays in the game," coach Mike Nolan said Tuesday. "We're not very efficient on the offensive side of the ball."

Nolan is becoming a master of understatement as he deals with his offense's profound woes. He's also showing a stubborn loyalty, standing firmly by offensive coordinator Jim Hostler and Smith while offering no hints of personnel changes or coaching reassignments.

Instead, the team that redefined offensive football in the 1980s seems determined to stay the course with an offense that has no definition.

The 49ers have gained a league-low 1,967 yards -- 448 fewer than 31st-place Buffalo. San Francisco's 128 yards passing per game also are the NFL's fewest, and the Niners average a league-worst 11.6 points.

Bay Area fans might find it incredible to learn the 49ers' offense is even worse than last season's Oakland Raiders, who were lampooned relentlessly along with coordinator Tom Walsh, the once and future bed-and-breakfast manager. Those 2-14 Raiders averaged nearly 28 more yards per game than Hostler's offense.

In Seattle, the 49ers managed just six first downs for the second time this season, something that hadn't happened since 1963.

"We had a good game plan," tight end Vernon Davis insisted. "We just didn't get a chance to get around to every play we had a plan for."

That's what happens when a team only gets 47 offensive snaps, just 18 in the first half, and 15 more after San Francisco was down by 24 points.

'PACMAN' TO TAKE PLEA -- Suspended Titans cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones is prepared to take a plea deal that will get him probation in a Las Vegas strip club triple shooting in an attempt to salvage his career. Under the written plea agreement obtained by The Associated Press, Jones intends to plead no contest to one charge of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct, a gross misdemeanor, in return for a promise to suspend a sentence of one year in county jail. Las Vegas police identified Jones as the person who incited a Feb. 19 fight inside the Minxx Gentlemen's Club minutes before three people were shot outside. The league has suspended Jones for the season.

TRAINER ADMITS STEROIDS TIE -- A personal trainer who claims ties to professional football players in Dallas and Atlanta pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute thousands of units of anabolic steroids. No names came up during the hearing. Jacobs told Dallas-Fort Worth television station KTVT on Monday that as part of the deal he would tell federal investigators about pro athletes who use steroids. Officials with both teams have said Jacobs never worked for them.

QUICK HITTERS -- Texans offensive lineman Fred Weary sued the city of Houston and two police officers for an arrest in which he was shot with a Taser gun during a traffic stop. In his lawsuit, filed in federal court, Weary is accusing the city and officers Margaret McGivern and Joe Vasquez of violating his civil rights through excessive force, assault, false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. ... Cardinals defensive end Bertrand Berry (torn left triceps) will miss the rest of the season. ... Running back Larry Johnson (right foot) will miss the Chiefs' game Sunday against the Colts. ... Quarterback J.P. Losman was selected as the starter for Buffalo's game against the unbeaten Patriots on Sunday.

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