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49ers Reorganize, Refit and Regroup

Posted Dec 24, 2012

The only thing Jim Harbaugh and the San Francisco 49ers can do on Christmas Eve is reorganize, refit and regroup.

The alliteration was repeated several times by the 49ers head coach at his Monday press conference. It seemed like the right thing to say after Harbaugh’s team experienced a one-sided defeat Sunday night to the Seattle Seahawks.

“Like we said last night,” the 49ers coach began his briefing, “we didn’t do really enough good things. Only one thing you can do after a battle, win or lose, and that’s reorganize, refit and regroup. And that’s what we’ll do.”

After a 42-13 loss, the biggest margin of defeat in Harbaugh’s 31 regular season games as 49ers coach, the team’s leadership and toughness will undoubtedly be tested. The 49ers coach, however, feels confident that his coaches and players will find away to respond in the face of adversity.

So far, the 49ers have yet to experience back-to-back defeats under Harbaugh’s watch.

When the team lost on the road to Minnesota, they blanked the New York Jets 34-0 on the road. When San Francisco was held without a touchdown at home by the New York Giants, the held the Seahawks out of the end zone in a Week 7 home victory. When the club was upset in overtime against St. Louis, the 49ers cranked out a workman-like home victory over the Miami Dolphins.

In total, the 49ers have outscored opponents 74-19 after their three defeats prior to Sunday's loss to the Seahawks. Furthermore, the club has outscored opponents 133-30 after defeats under Harbaugh.

After being beaten soundly by Seattle, San Francisco aims to continue its resiliency streak.

The 49ers head coach didn’t speak at length about the loss to the Seahawks, nor did he highlight individual performances in last night’s losing effort. When asked about Ricky Jean Francois’ second start of the season, this time in place for All-Pro defensive tackle Justin Smith, Harbaugh pointed out that the team-wide effort was not up to par.

“Rather than go position by position, or any one particular phase,” Harbaugh replied, “I don’t think anybody looks back on this and feels like it was good enough.”

The Seahawks out-gained and out-executed the 49ers on their home turf Sunday night. It certainly didn’t help that Smith missed his first start in 185 games because of an elbow injury that he’s working through.

When asked about the severity of the injury, Harbaugh confirmed that the defensive co-captain has not undergone a procedure on the elbow and that he could potentially need surgery after the postseason. Following Sunday’s game, Harbaugh said he didn’t know if he’d have Smith back in time for the playoffs.

Other health situations to monitor involve wide receiver Mario Manningham (knee), tight end Vernon Davis (concussion) and fullback/defensive tackle Will Tukuafu (back), who all missed time against the Seahawks.

Harbaugh confirmed Manningham is undergoing an MRI and the team is awaiting results. Davis and Tukuafu’s health will be monitored closely during the week to determine if they’ll be ready for the team’s home finale against the Arizona Cardinals.

The 49ers have a chance to win consecutive NFC West titles if they’re able to defeat Arizona. It would also give the franchise its 19th division title. The team could also receive a first-round bye and the NFC’s No. 2 seed with a win over the Cardinals and a Vikings home victory over the Green Bay Packers.

With so much on the line this Sunday, the 49ers are moving on from the lopsided loss in the Pacific Northwest.

“We’re going to move forward,” Harbaugh said point-blank. “No explanations. No excuses necessary.”

In the head coach’s mind, leadership from within will be key in the team’s upcoming bounce-back effort.

“I feel our team’s leadership, I feel the intellect of the staff, I think the talent of the players, the work ethic of the players will pave the way.”

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