SANTA CLARA, CALIF. -- Ronnie Lott knew his San Francisco 49ers weren't indestructible. But that realization didn't help him sleep the day after they showed flashes of mortality in their first loss of the season against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday.

One loss, no big deal, right? But the 49ers aren't used to losing. Their system goes into shock when it happens. And some players don't know how to react.

Receiver Jerry Rice called the 28-17 thumping "crushing." Offensive lineman Bubba Paris is determined to erase it from his memory; he says his remorse took 10 pounds off his 300-plus frame. To help him focus on the next opponent, the New York Giants on Monday night, Paris said he named his dog Bill Parcells.

Safety Lott hasn't been able to sleep.

"I never thought about {losing}," Lott said. "Most of my friends know that when we lose I don't talk about it because it's hard. That's probably the toughest thing . . . losing. And when you do it brings back all those feelings that you have when we have lost. It brings back all those nasty feelings.

"It brings back the fact that you can't sleep at night. It brings back the fact that there is no comfort. It brings back the fact that I can't go home and see my mom in {Los Angeles}. It brings back a lot of things for me, especially losing to the Rams. It's not even fun talking about it. It's not even fun."

Said Rice: "I don't want to lose another game. Not at this point. Not ever."

Perhaps the most disappointed is 49ers Coach George Seifert, who was somewhat outcoached and unprepared for the Rams. San Francisco was expecting the Rams to stick mostly with their base, 3-4 defense. But they used the nickel defense -- sometimes deploying seven defensive backs -- for most of the game. In effect the Rams dared the 49ers to run, something they haven't done well all season.

"There are second thoughts about some of the thinking," Seifert said. "All of a sudden we were having to adjust our blocking patterns, how we were going to protect the quarterback and what runs we would use. While we were scrambling to make some changes, they put some points on the board." Rust Belt Northeast

There is a growing concern among the New England Patriots' assistant coaches that they will be fired at season's end by Coach Rod Rust. And the concern is from offensive and defensive staffers.

"I fully expect to be fired," said one assistant who asked not to be identified.

At 1-10 the Patriots are an awful team, the worst in the league. Many of the problems can be directly traced to Rust. He took personal charge of the sluggish offense a few weeks ago and stubbornly stayed with ineffective Marc Wilson. Last week rookie quarterback Tommy Hodson started over Wilson and played well, going 17 of 29 with two touchdowns.

But he was sacked five times by a weak Phoenix defensive line, a reflection on the Patriots' offensive line. In fact, the Patriots suffer from a lack of talent and an aging roster. There is little any coaching staff can do about those problems. Eagles Weather

The Eagles get no rest after their big win against the Giants. Philadelphia next travels to Buffalo and, it being December then, Rich Stadium, home of the 9-2 Bills, probably will be polar cold. Which is fine with the Eagles.

"Eagle weather," said Coach Buddy Ryan, who was an assistant at the University of Buffalo in the early 1960s. "That means if it's 40 below zero, that's fine." . . .

That stinging block Eagles running back Keith Byars put on Giants inside linebacker Pepper Johnson, so nasty it practically caused Johnson to do a back-flip, has been prime TV highlight material.

So it's hard to believe the two players are friends. Good buddies. They were roommates at Ohio State for four seasons. They call each other at least once a week. They dine together whenever possible. When Byars was married in April, Johnson was the best man.

Obviously, friendship is left in the locker room.

"We're just enemies for 60 minutes," Byars said. "We love each other like brothers after the game. {The hit} is something we're going to talk about for many, many years, even after we're both retired."