SAN FRANCISCO -- Against all odds, some actual news broke out Sunday night after the 49ers' preseason snoozer of a 34-14 decision over Minnesota. In postgame remarks, coach Jim Harbaugh more or less officially proclaimed that Colt McCoy is the team's No. 2 quarterback.

"I thought he played very well," Harbaugh said. "I feel good right now that Colt's the backup."

Well, I guess we can now all resume our regular activities as we remove those pins and needles from the seats of our living room chairs.

Hey, this time of year, you take your big NFL stories where you find them. McCoy was hardly perfect Sunday. He threw a bad interception on his first series of the night. But when given the ball on three more offensive possessions, McCoy settled into a smooth groove and played his best football of the summer, producing a field goal and a touchdown.

"I hadn't performed the way I know I can perform -- maybe I was thinking a little too much," McCoy said.

Or, possibly, he wasn't thinking enough. Or maybe he was thinking too much about not thinking enough. It's hard to say. In fact, there might be no tougher job in sports than trying to interpret the meaning of any given development in any given NFL preseason game.

(All right, so it's probably a tougher job to fight the preposterous traffic to get in and out of Candlestick Park. But at least there are only 10 more games, maximum, to worry about that.)

Look, no matter how the 49ers' backup quarterback situation behind Colin Kaepernick shook out before opening day, it wasn't going to be as good as last season, when the team had Kaepernick ready when starter Alex Smith went down with a concussion -- and Kaepernick turned out to be as good or better than Smith.

The 49ers, though, were looking for a scenario as close to that as possible, even with Smith gone to the Chiefs. And the uncertainty of the 49ers' backup spot was becoming an issue -- involving McCoy, Scott Tolzien, B.J. Daniels, Seneca Wallace and the entire cast of Beach Blanket Babylon. Or so it seemed.

None of us knows what happens inside the closed meeting rooms at 49ers world headquarters. But from what both men hinted, it sounds as if Harbaugh made up his mind last week to tell McCoy he was the guy ... and then see how McCoy responded.

Apparently, he responded with his best week of practice so far, since his trade to the 49ers from Cleveland last spring. Harbaugh then told McCoy on Saturday that he was the designated No. 2.

McCoy confirmed that he subsequently restructured his contract -- which the 49ers inherited from the Browns and which called for him to be paid $1.5 million this season -- to a lower figure.

Thus, the 49ers couldn't use finances as a reason to cut him or trade him.

"I think we've figured each other out a lot better," McCoy said of his interaction with Harbaugh.

Sunday's most hugely positive moment probably happened in the third quarter when McCoy threw his best pass of the game -- and it was snared adroitly by wideout Jon Baldwin, acquired by the 49ers just six days earlier from the Chiefs for 2012 top pick A.J. Jenkins.

Baldwin escaped coverage at the line and found an open seam to grab the perfect delivery from McCoy. Jenkins never did anything similar as a 49er.

"I was just looking forward to anything that came my way," Baldwin said.

The regular season is coming our way, too. Just not soon enough. But with McCoy slotted at backup, at least one item is checked off the 49ers to-do list.

Contact Mark Purdy at mpurdy@mercurynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MercPurdy.