The 49ers gave up 30 points and 525 yards against the New York Giants, including 441 passing yards by Eli Manning.
Still, there wasn’t a sense of failure in the 49ers’ locker room after the 30-27 loss Sunday night. Instead, there was a feeling that things are improving.
“I think we played well,” linebacker NaVorro Bowman said. “I just see this team just continuing to get better. I don’t think anything was out that we (should) hang our heads about. I think we have a bright future with us being so young and having so much adversity early in the season.”
Cornerback Tramaine Brock struck a similar tone. Brock intercepted a Manning pass at the end of the first half and nearly had a game-sealing interception at the end of the fourth quarter. Officials, however, overturned the original call of an interception and ruled that Manning’s wobbly pass hit the ground.
Brock said he wasn’t sure if he caught the pass. But he didn’t think the officials had enough evidence to overturn it.
“We had a few mistakes out there,” Brock said. “It’s something to learn on, something to improve on. We got a couple of three-and-outs. But when it mattered, we didn’t show up.”
The 49ers also failed to sack Manning, something they also didn’t do during a blowout loss in Week 2 to Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Starting outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks didn’t play. He was in Louisiana with his family after the death of his sister. Corey Lemonier and rookie Eli Harold filled in for Brooks.
Bowman, meanwhile, said he thought he had decent coverage on tight end Larry Donnell on the Giants’ winning touchdown. “I thought I played it pretty good – just a great pass, great catch,” he said.
But Bowman said he still would accept the blame for the loss.
“I’ll take that,” Bowman said. “I’ll put that on me.”
Right guard rotation – Andrew Tiller, who had only one regular-season snap in his career entering Sunday’s game, alternated at right guard with Jordan Devey for the 49ers.
Tiller replaced Devey on the 49ers’ third offensive series and had 16 snaps by halftime. The 49ers re-inserted Devey during the second half.
The 6-foot-4, 324-pound Tiller spent the first four games on the practice squad before being elevated Saturday. He took cornerback Shareece Wright’s spot on the 53-man roster.
Devey, an offseason acquisition from the New England Patriots, started the 49ers’ first five games despite being rated one of the league’s least productive guards at the start of the season.
Tiller is the 49ers’ only backup offensive lineman with regular-season experience, although that experience was minimal: one snap during a 17-7 loss to the Seattle Seahawks last season. He spent most of last year on the practice squad.
Wright was unhappy with his lack of playing time and asked to be traded or released. He was released Saturday after playing no snaps this season.
Staley starts – Joe Staley hasn’t missed a start at left tackle since 2010, and he extended his streak on a night the 49ers had eight offensive linemen in uniform.
Staley missed practice Wednesday and Thursday because of a knee injury suffered during the Oct. 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Also in uniform was guard Brandon Thomas, a third-round draft pick in 2014 who had been inactive this season.
The 49ers’ inactive players were Brooks, tight end Vernon Davis, guard Ian Silberman, wide receiver DeAndrew White, running back Mike Davis, nose tackle Mike Purcell and linebacker Gerald Hodges, who was acquired from the Minnesota Vikings last week.
Safety first – Staley and wide receiver Anquan Boldin were emphatically signaling to the sideline after running back Carlos Hyde struck his helmet against a Giants defender during a seven-yard run in the first quarter. What was notable was the two were waving to the New York sideline.
Inside linebacker Jon Beason was woozy after the collision and was tested for a concussion. He did not return.
Part of the NFL’s efforts to prevent and manage concussions has been to instruct players and officials to recognize symptoms and alert team physicians when a head injury is suspected.
The Giants already were missing three injured starters on defense: end Robert Ayers Jr., tackle Cullen Jenkins and linebacker Devon Kennard.
Et cetera – Vernon Davis still is dealing with a knee injury suffered Sept. 27 against the Arizona Cardinals. The 49ers essentially started three tight ends in Davis’ place. Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and rookie Blake Bell were on the field for the team’s first snap.
▪ Running back Reggie Bush left after his calf tightened up on him, coach Jim Tomsula said. Bush injured his calf in Week 1 and missed the next two games.
▪ Giants tight end Daniel Fells, who has been declared out for the season while he battles a staph infection, tweeted a message to his teammates before the game: “My heart is with my brothers tonight. Get that W G-men. I love every one of you.” Fells, who played at UC Davis, is in danger of losing his foot, according to an NFL.com report Sunday. He developed the infection after receiving a cortisone shot to his ankle.