Singletary keeps 49ers' QB options open after latest struggles

San Francisco 49ers coach Mike Singletary considered pulling starting quarterback Alex Smith in favor of Troy Smith in the middle of Thursday night's 34-7 loss to the San Diego Chargers, according to The Sacramento Bee.

Singletary declined to name a starter for the 49ers' Week 16 game against the St. Louis Rams.

"Once again, I want to get back and look at the film. It wasn't just Alex," Singletary told The Bee. "I think our offensive line has to do a better job in terms of protecting him."

Singletary said the switch "would have been unfair to Troy Smith," because he went without first-team snaps in the week of practice before the game.

"It is a different thing ... going from Troy to Alex," the coach said. "I think it is a horrific thing to go from Alex to Troy."

There was hope that Alex Smith's 255-yard, three-touchdown performance in a 40-21 victory over the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday would carry over, but he threw for just 165 yards with an interception against the Chargers.

Troy Smith, the 2006 Heisman Trophy winner with Ohio State, went 3-2 in five games as the starter after signing with the 49ers in September following his release by the Baltimore Ravens. He is 66 of 126 and has passed for 1,023 yards and four touchdowns, including throwing for 356 yards in a 23-20 overtime victory over the Rams on Nov. 14.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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