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The great Niners giveaway
After five games, team is last in NFL with turnover differential of minus-10

  • Philadelphia's Dimitri Patterson intercepts an Alex Smith pass in front of Ted Ginn Jr. during the 49ers' loss at Candlestick Park on Sunday. (John Burgess / Press Democrat)

SANTA CLARA — Five games and 15 turnovers into a quickly careening season, the 49ers haven't figured out how to prevent their endless miscues.

But they do have two players who could seemingly provide some assistance.

Backup quarterback David Carr and wide receiver Ted Ginn, a pair of former high-end first-round draft picks, have another, more obscure, claim to fame. Carr was a member of the 2008 Giants and Ginn played for the 2008 Dolphins, teams that share the NFL record for the fewest turnovers in a season.

Those two historically mistake-free teams committed 13 turnovers in 16 games.

The 0-5 Niners? They've committed 13 turnovers ... in their past 16 quarters.

San Francisco, which is last in the NFL with a minus-10 turnover differential, is on pace to commit 48 turnovers, which would double last year's total and be just seven fewer than they had in a three-year span from 2000-02.

This team, clearly, could use some counsel on “Total Ball Security,” which, as it happens, is the No. 1 item on the “49ers Formula for Success” banner that hangs outside their locker room.

So Mr. Ginn, a member of an 11-5 team that had seven interceptions and six fumbles in '08, any helpful tips?

“There ain't no secret to it,” Ginn said. “Just hold onto the rock.”

Hmm. Not too helpful.

But what about Carr, a backup to Eli Manning on the '08 Giants, who had a 12-4 record thanks to 10 interceptions and three lost fumbles. Coach Tom Coughlin must have made holding onto the ball a real point of emphasis, huh David?

“You know, all coaches say the same things,” Carr said. “The ball just bounced our way, honestly. I can remember so many times that year when the ball was on the ground and we happened to fall on it.”

Sure enough, Carr's memory is accurate. The Giants had 18 fumbles in '08. And they recovered 15.

The '08 Dolphins? They also had 18 fumbles. And recovered 12.

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