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Two bloodied noses: Shanahan and Jimmy G have their first reality check of the season

Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy G got their butts kicked, for once

San Francisco 49ers v Chicago Bears Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Kyle Shannight’ and Jimmy Garoppolo has been riding high this season.

That ended tonight. Both got their butts kicked.

You can say a lot of things — wide receiver drops, an insane ten injuries of San Francisco players during the game, Kittle out, relying on a rookie kicker off the street — and they are all true.

But none of that changes this fact: Monday night’s game was the biggest test of the year for the last undefeated team’s head coach and quarterback. And they both failed their exams.

You don’t get to be a head coach or franchise quarterback by winning when everything goes your way. The currency of the realm is overcoming adversity.

Sure, the Niners would have won anyway if the rookie kicker they signed off the street had nailed his fourth straight field goal under pressure. They should never have needed a wildly improbable storybook ending by a kicker nobody has ever heard of.

This was a huge game before a huge audience, and both men got embarrassed. They both looked rattled, nervous, at a loss.

Shanahan had a good first quarter, even if, on his first drive, the Niners needed 17 penalty calls in their favor to get into field goal range. The second drive was golden, though.

That was the high point of the game. The rest of it was all San Francisco getting stuffed while Shanahan anxiously dug through his playlist, trying to find something different. Maybe he should have called — or better practiced — a screen against Seattle’s intense pass rush.

Or they could have thrown more to running backs, who caught seven passes on seven targets while the wide receivers were playing volleyball with Seattle defensive backs. The Hawks easily could have pulled in five or six interceptions tonight.

I don’t know the answer obviously, but neither did Shanahan. Pete Carroll smoked him tonight, pure and simple.

Coming off his best game as a Niner, Jimmy Garoppolo looked even more shook than Shanny. He pressed and stressed, and just looked overwhelmed. Some of his passes were great (including several drops), but others were far too inaccurate.

The worst was his 38-yard deep shot to Deebo Samuel with 1:30 left in overtime. Samuel, the best wide receiver on the field Monday night, had a solid step on Shaquill Griffin on the most important play of the game.

But Garoppolo threw short, giving Griffin just enough time to make an incredible play and set up Russell Wilson for one final drive with a minute and a half left. We all know how that story ends.

It’s a shame that the failure of these two leaders will obscure the amazing job that Robert Saleh and the San Francisco defense did. They completely shut down the Seahawk’s deep pass game, held on short yardage runs, forced five fumbles, got five sacks, and grabbed just the second interception of Russell Wilson this entire year.

Recently I wrote that I thought the Arizona Cardinals would be the 49ers’ biggest rivals in the NFC West over the next five years, and I stand by that. Certainly, the Rams are done.

But my analysis was that Pete Carroll (at 68) is certain to retire in the next couple of years, and Russell Wilson is almost certain to get injured. He can’t keep barely evading hard hits forever.

But whether that’s delusional or incisive, both men are healthy and performing at their peak right now — this year. And whatever happens over the next four years, San Francisco’s road to post-season success runs through Seattle right now.

Shanahan and Garoppolo were embarrassed Monday night — or at least I hope they were. If the Niners want to go deep into the playoffs, they need to eat their failures, figure out what went wrong, and dig deep to fix it.