At one point in the fourth quarter the 49ers had a 17 point lead over the Lions. After Robbie Gould’s field goal with 11:21 left in the game the score was 49ers 30, Lions 13. What happened after that moment could have set the 49ers up to start the season 0-2. Richard Sherman was very poignant about how he felt with the win nearly snatched from them in the final moments.
“A win is a win but it feels like a loss, to me. We played like crap down the stretch on defense. On offense, they gave us 30 points. It was 13 to 30 in the fourth, we have to execute. Stafford’s a good quarterback, they are a good team, but we gotta execute down the stretch and we have to play better. I think it’s a good lesson for a young team that we needed. It’s a humbling lesson, thanks goodness we got the win out of it but a lot of good tape, a lot of good learning from this. I thinks it’s going to be a humbling experience for a lot of our players.”
Was it execution or the mental state of the young players?
“Both. Both. It’s executions because Saleh called an incredible game. On third and fifteen with the game on the line, they win the dame play over and over and over. The corner has to hinge on the back side. You just have to do your job. That was fundamental. That wasn’t just them running a better play. They actually ran what we expected them to run and we just didn’t execute. That was execution, but I think it was mind set of kind of taking a sigh, the you’re up 30 to 13. Thank goodness we came out with a win because you can take it a a learning lesson instead of a hard lesson.”
Sherman wasn’t the only player who felt the team ease up in the fourth quarter either. DeForest Buckner also had some thoughts on how the team played in the fourth quarter:
“We had a lot of energy at the beginning of the game and throughout the game, especially when we go that lead. I feel like the energy kind of fell off a little bit and we needed to build it back up that last defensive stand that we had. I feel like guys kind of woke up during that last drive on defense. We’ve got to keep the pedal down all four quarters.”
D.J. Reed Jr.:
“I think that we still have a long way to go. That was an ugly win, but I will take an ugly win over a pretty loss. We still have a long way to go as a team. We have so much potential. We just have to keep building. We are going to watch the film tomorrow and build off of that so we can be ready for next week.”
“Sherm has a great mindset. It’s a good thing. I was just talking to some of the guys. It’s a different mindset than last year. Last year if we got a win, we were happy about it. Now, you kind of progress as a team. I think our guys are growing and learning like that. When you have a chance like we had to blow them out and take advantage of that stuff, we didn’t. It’s just little things like that we need to clean up.”
Sherman is correct: the 49ers were lucky to escape with a win and it should be a lesson for the team. The 49ers will have their work cut out for them next week when they face a Chiefs offense that has scored 80 points in the last two weeks.