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Kyle Shanahan handling the losses with diplomacy and ownership

Post game transcript following the loss in Indianapolis.

NFL: San Francisco 49ers at Indianapolis Colts Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media after another heart breaking loss. He spoke about Carlos Hyde and NaVorro Bowman being held out of the game and Brian Hoyer’s play.

You can watch the video here.

How painful is it and how old does it get when you get so close but come up short?

“You just need to deal with it. I mean, it is what it is. You accept responsibility for it. We’ve had the opportunity to win all four games, and in those games we came up short. And I would say, as a head coach, it starts with me. We had opportunities there and we didn’t get it done again. So, I will say the same thing that I have been saying these past few weeks – that there is nothing you can do but go back to work and get better. When you go through something like this, and you obviously face a lot of adversity, it’s a time to find out what our guys are made of. You can really find out what your teammates are made of and take a good look in the mirror to see who you really are too.”

How do you evaluate the way Brian Hoyer played today?

“By no means was he perfect, but I thought he did a solid job. I will see on the tape, but I thought he played better than he did last week.”

You obviously had a lot of momentum at the end of the fourth quarter. Did you have any consideration to go for two points?

“No, I didn’t. It’s something that I always will consider. But I felt pretty good about letting the game play out. I was pretty confident and I thought that if we had more time we could end up winning it, but obviously we didn’t.”

Carlos Hyde and NaVorro Bowman were on the sideline, what was the thinking behind that?

“Really, we have three backs that are up. And we try to give them all carries and go with the hot hand. We felt like (Matt) Breida was the hot hand at the time. (Bowman) Bo had a stinger during the game so he went out for a little bit there. We also had plans to take him out of a couple of series throughout the game just to make sure to keep him fresh.”

This had nothing to do with Carlos’ opening injury?

“No, it was just about trying to go with the hot hand.”

You said you guys have been so close but then it’s disheartening. What do you give to the guys who are on the right track to not get down and not start to expect these kind of things?

“I think it’s similar to what I had said last week. It’s different when you don’t have a chance, and we all know we had a chance. I think you guys do too. So I don’t think I have to sit there and say that. But I just said to the guys that I know how hard it is. And we don’t have to get over it tonight and we don’t have to get over it tomorrow. It’s going to take some time because you do put everything into it and it hurts. But we are going to have to go through the tape tomorrow and evaluate, which will hurt a lot more. But when those guys come back on Wednesday, it’s back to work. You have to take it as an opportunity because no matter how close you are it’s human nature to get down when it’s like this. That’s what I love about sports. I think of it as an opportunity to really find out who you are and what you are made of because I don’t think it’s for everyone. Not a lot of people can handle it and I’m counting on the guys in our (locker) room to handle it. It will show a lot about the type of people we have. You can look at negative things or you can also look at negative things as a positive. No one wants to be in this situation, but are you going to get better or worse from it? The guys who are going to be here are going to be the guys who rise to the occasion when facing adversity.”

Special teams had been doing really well up until this point, the two guys that collided at the end – was that just a miscommunication?

“If a kick is too short, the guys up blocking will catch it, you have to decide in the heat of battle. And you have to call a guy off. I don’t know exactly what happened. I didn’t talk to them, but I did see that they both tried to catch it at the same time. So I’m sure Breida though it was too short and didn’t think that it could get there. I’m sure (Matt) Breida didn’t here Vic (Victor Bolden Jr.) trying to call him off. But I will ask the guys about it tomorrow.”

How impressive were some of the catches by George Kittle on the tying drive at the end of regulation?

“They were pretty good. We have high expectations for Kittle. He has been battling through some injuries, but he has done some good things for us in the run and pass game. And on that last drive in the last quarter he showed up big time for us.”

What do you think clicked for the offense there in the fourth quarter, just making plays or something else?

“Yeah, I think you guys asked me the same kind of thing last week, but you have to have success to get confidence. It was very frustrating throughout the game. We had a number of opportunities and it only takes one weak link on a play out of 11. I don’t mean that in a negative way, but that’s what I like and that’s also what is tough about football. You all have to be on the same page and you all have to execute. Even when you have the right look, if one guy is off it doesn’t work. It seemed like we had that a lot throughout the game. And it seems like we’ve had it a lot through these five weeks. We had a couple of plays in the fourth then you kind of feel that momentum and everyone gets a little bit more confidence. Those plays to make seem a little bit easier. Sometimes you can’t overcome a weak link. Not everyone has to be perfect and that stuff becomes contagious. I’m hoping we can do more of it because it will help.”

What was the difference, specifically in-game, with the first half offense and the second half offense, especially in the fourth quarter?

“Yeah, I didn’t see any difference at all. It’s either making it or not. We had an opportunity in the first quarter for a walk in 80-yard touchdown off of one guy and you miss it. And then you have a couple of third downs where you just miss a certain pick up and you would’ve stayed on the field. Instead, it’s three-and-outs so you don’t know what would have happened the rest of the drives. We didn’t change anything. There was no need to. You keep going at it. When people are defending everything and stopping everything and you don’t have any answers that’s when you have to really adjust. But I thought we were able to stick with it and press through. The defense gave us a chance to stay in it and they gave us some time to where we could start clicking. And when we did, we made the plays to at least get us to overtime.”

Were you aware of the controversy with the Vice President?


Well he was here and he walked out and he tweeted it was because players were taking a knee and disrespecting the flag. And since it was your players, I was wondering if you have any comment on that being thrust once again into a national debate?

“Maybe I will. You are kind of throwing me off here. I didn’t know he was at the game so I don’t how many people kneeled or what. I didn’t see that today so I’m sure I will find out more when I leave here. I will probably answer that better for you tomorrow.”

Does NaVorro Bowman look like a guy needing some rest in certain games?

“I think lots of guys do. When you have an opportunity for that I think it helps. Especially NaVorro and what he has been through and stuff. And when he gets out there too much, I like it when he is out there fresh and ready to go. And I think we can take some of that off of him. We had a plan going into this game. I don’t know how much we did it exactly. I think it happened a little more because I know he missed some time because of that stinger. But when you are out there too long, which we have let him in the last few weeks do that, it’s tough for him to play at that level. I think the fresher we can keep him, the more we can get him to play at a very high level.”