The 49ers went 8-8 in 2009 to end a franchise-worst six consecutive losing seasons, and they were popular favorites to win the NFC West in 2010. But at 0-5, they will have a tough time even matching last season's .500 finish.
Then Carr was off and Smith returned. That confusing scene followed a heated exchange between Smith and Singletary, who lit into his quarterback after an awful sequence late in the game that sent the 49ers to 0-5 for the first time since 1979.
Smith fumbled on the first play of the fourth quarter, leading to Quintin Mikell's 52-yard return for a score. When the 49ers got the ball back, Smith threw three consecutive incompletions.
Singletary was ready to make the switch to Carr when Smith spoke up for himself -- after a little pep talk from tight end Vernon Davis encouraged him to do so.
"I really wanted to see what his response would be in a situation like that," Singletary said. "A quarterback who has anything in him is going to have something to say about that."
Smith responded by leading two late touchdown drives, hitting Davis on a 7-yard score and Gore on a 1-yarder.
"I wanted Alex to stay in the game because I believe in Alex," Davis said. "I think he responded well. He's very courageous."
Singletary and Smith met long after the game ended, and the coach said he was considering a quarterback change before next Sunday's home game against the Oakland Raiders. However, Singletary announced Monday that Smith would remain the starter.
"I'm going to keep on going out there until they tell me I'm not," Smith said.
San Francisco still has five remaining games against NFC West opponents. It's yet to be seen whether or not Singletary, who fired offensive coordinator Jimmy Raye after three games and replaced him with Mike Johnson, will make more changes.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.