Video: Coach Jim Tomsula on finding answers on team's lack of "fine focus"
SANTA CLARA -- Tank Carradine started the game as the 49ers "edge" pass rusher, which seemed to signal a big day ahead for him. But he only ended up playing 13 snaps on defense and did not record a tackle or any other statistic. With Aaron Lynch (concussion) out for a second straight game, Eli Harold played the most, 31 of 64 snaps, at the position and had the best game of his rookie season. He finished with three tackles, a quarterback hit and a tackle for loss. Corey Lemonier played 28 snaps and finished with two tackles.
Linebacker NaVorro Bowman led all tacklers with 12 stops. He's now tied for the league lead in that category with Indianapolis linebacker D'Qwell Jackson. Both have 136 tackles. That stat would seem to make him a candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, although Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer is the likely frontrunner for that honor.
NB Jimmie Ward also had perhaps his best game as a pro and recorded his first-ever sack. He's played a little less than 61 percent of the defensive snaps this season. He was on the field for 58 percent Sunday likely because the Bengals, with a big second-half lead, didn't use many three-receiver formations after halftime.
When Marcus Martin went down with a concussion late in the game, the first guy who jogged onto the field to take over at right guard was rookie Ian Silberman. But during the interim, the 49ers changed their minds. Tackle Erik Pears was inserted at guard while another rookie, Trent Brown, entered at right tackle. He played 34 snaps and did not give up a sack, which is significant considering the 49ers were very much in pass mode at that point and the Bengals knew that. Brown said he thought he played well and that he wished he was more stout on two drop backs. That's mere quibbling. He played very well and warrants more of an opportunity over the homestretch.
After Shaun Draughn (16 snaps) left the game in the second quarter, Kendall Gaskins and Travaris Cadet essentially split the snaps at tailback. Cadet played 30 snaps while Gaskins played 29. Both were used mainly as receivers out of the backfield. That may be surprising for someone as big as Gaskins, but he has some background at H-back/tight end in college, and he frequently lined up as the opposition's tight end on the 49ers' scout team earlier this year. Draughn was observed walking around without any noticeable limp after the game, and the expectation as of now is that his injury won't keep him out long.
Gaskins finished second on the 49ers behind Anquan Boldin in receiving Sunday with six catches for 52 yards. Cadet had four catches for 32 yards. Boldin, meanwhile, caught eight passes for 74 yards and a touchdown. He now has 999 career receptions. With his next one, Boldin will become the 13th player in NFL history with 1,000 career catches. ... Still, Boldin is on pace for 790 receiving yards. That would be his lowest annual total since 2004 when he had 623 for the Cardinals. He missed six games that year; he's missed two this year.
Cincinnati won the game -- and it wasn't nearly as close as the final score suggested -- despite a light day of work from receiver A.J. Green (59 percent of the snaps) and without quarterback Andy Dalton (thumb) and tight end Tyler Eifert (concussion). Green had one catch for 37 yards.
Finally, fullback Bruce Miller ran for his first-ever NFL touchdown and picked up a first down on fourth and 1. But he only played 10 snaps, 13 percent of the offensive total. The Bruce Miller Effect states that the 49ers win when Miller played approximately 40 percent of the snaps. Newsflash: the 49ers lost.