It was a wake up call for the San Francisco 49ers after a very short rest. A rest that only lasted 6 days as opposed to the Pittsburgh Steeler's 10 day recovery from their Thursday night opener. Now, the test will be if this young 49ers team can Belichick themselves out of this performance and collectively say "We're on to Arizona."
After the game NaVorro Bowman spoke to the media. It's notable that he turned the first question around from being a response to being a member of defense that hadn't allowed a loss like this one, into looking forward to next week. Here's the entire transcript:
A loss like this doesn't happen very often. What's your reaction to having a game like that?
You're comparing this team to what we had in the past. We had probably 8 or 9 vets on the defense. My thing, is I want to see how we respond to this. It's not....this is the NFL, we've taken losses before but it's how you respond, you know, taking a loss like this. We're a young team so that'll be the great challenge for us. We have an important game coming up in Arizona, so it's my job and the vet's job on this team to get the young guys ready and prepared and moving on from this one.
Did the young guys get shaken up in this game?
I don't know, man, it's a few things, but I'll take it. I'll take this loss but I'd rather it happen now, early in the season, than later on down the road. You know, we have a chance to bounce back from it, so I'm excited about that.
How did Bowman feel he played in this game?
I made the plays that I could. They threw the ball over my head several times so I couldn't do anything about that but I got the right calls made, you know. I did my job.
On what the lesson from today's loss is for the team especially the younger players:
That everyone is good. You know Pittsburgh lost to New England last week and I was trying to put in in 'em to know that they weren't going to lay down and take 0 and 2. That's the lesson. Knowing that you gotta come play every single week, knowing that the success and the celebration is over right after the game and you focus right up on the next opponent. I think we will do that this week.
On the team responding in the second half:
I think we played hard. I think we kept playing. I think we did what we could. The ball just wasn't rolling for us today. It's an early [in the] season, it's a long season and we have a long road ahead of us.
Was he getting angry watching Antonio Brown's performance?
No, I've trained with Antonio, I know the type of player he is, the coaches know what type of player he is. We know that they would still throw the ball to him even if he was double covered. He made plays. He had a good game.
Antoine Bethea had a similar comment about looking forward after the game.
Just like a team has to move on from the euphoria of a win, it must also have a short memory with losses. The scenario in Pittsburgh was almost too cliche. The Steelers had a long rest after a frustrating loss, not to mention the energy of a home opener. The 49ers were on a short rest week after an exciting opener under the bright Monday Night Football lights. It was mentally similar to what you would see from college teams in a "let down" game. What was different about this was the continued production and effort from the team through the entire game.
One of head coach Jim Tomsula's oft said phrases has been "Own it, fix it and move on." If he, Bowman and Bethea can get the team to do that, all is not lost. If there's a time when losing is more advantageous, it's early in the season and against a team out of conference.