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Shanahan on playing without Kittle/Sanders: They’re our two best playmakers

The 49ers head coach spoke to the media after Monday night’s game

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media after Monday night’s game where he talked about the team’s morale, drops, and some of the players’ performances.

Opening comments:

“Alright, the injuries: [WR Emmanuel] Sanders had ribs, didn’t return. [DL] D.J. Jones, groin, didn’t return. [LB] Azeez [Al-Shaair] had a concussion, no return. [C/G Weston] Richburg, hand, he did return. [RB Matt] Breida with an ankle, no return and [DL Ronald] Blair with a knee, no return. I don’t know anything more on it right now.”

Is WR Marquise Goodwin okay?

“Yeah, his forearm, I think, was cramping up. Something with that, but he returned.”

How do you view this? Do you view this as a game, you were glad to see the competitive level or do you view it as just mad you didn’t win it?

“Both. You’re always disappointed when you don’t win, Especially, when we felt we had a number of chances. I was very proud of our guys. I thought we competed very hard. Guys left it all out there. I know guys are hurting right now. I thought all three phases played hard. I thought our defense was unbelievable. I thought the offense played as hard as they could but made way too many mistakes to be able to pull out a win in that game.”

What’s the morale in the locker room right now?

“I think they’re disappointed. I think guys are exhausted right now. Guys left a lot out there. We’ve got a lot of guys banged up who came out of the game and a lot of guys were, I think, hurting throughout that game. So, I think the guys left it all out there. I know they are exhausted. I know they are disappointed with the loss, but I think they are excited to rest tomorrow and get right back at it next week.”

Is that about as physical of a game as you guys have played?

“I thought we had a pretty physical one versus the Rams earlier. I think we’ve had a number of physical games. Pittsburgh was like that. Going the extra time, the 5th quarter like that and using all that always takes a toll on players.”

Did you think about going for it on 4-and-1 right there on that last field goal?

“No, honestly never entered my mind right there. I think we were three-for-three at the time and thought it was close enough for him. No, it didn’t enter my mind right there.”

Coaches have been complaining for years about turnovers and about how they ruin a game. You guys are rolling a long, great defense, 10-0 and then turn it over and the game goes the other way.

“Huge. Yeah, that was a huge one. Especially, when they return it and score. That was their first time getting in the end zone, changed the momentum of the game. [S Jaquiski] Tartt made an unbelievable play getting that turnover before the half, which got us back or kind of settled them down a little bit. I think we had three turnovers on offense today and I think we got four, but it comes to points off of it and I believe we only had seven points off turnovers and they had 21. Obviously, the difference right there.”

I know you wanted to drive the field for the win on the final drive, but were you disappointed you couldn’t take some more time off the clock?

“Yeah, definitely. The first down, you’re expecting to get a completion. They got a tipped ball. The second one, we’ve got to be able to throw and catch there between [WR] Dante [Pettis] and [QB] Jimmy [Garoppolo]. And then you get stuck in 3-and-10 like that, so definitely didn’t want to run it right there on 3-and-10, wanted to go for the first down. Definitely wish we took more time of the clock, but was counting on us catching one of those balls.”

How much of a loss of TE George Kittle and Sanders, you didn’t have Kittle and then lost Sanders? How much did that affect your offense?

“They’re our two best playmakers, so it definitely takes a toll. We knew that coming in with George. We kind of realized that was going to happen today. Emmanuel was out there battling. Had that happen with his ribs. He tried to go a few more series longer, but he had to go out. Other guys came in, some guys stepped it up at times. We just didn’t have the consistency out there.”

Is there any indication of the severity of Sanders injury?

“Not sure yet.”

He’ll get an MRI tomorrow?


Did this game just feel different? I know every game is valuable, but was this game, with your record and their record, the energy in the stadium, did it feel different?

“I think the energy in the stadium did. I think our stadium has been great all year, but from kickoff, starting at kickoff, even before kickoff today, it was pretty wild out there. You could feel it at the sidelines right after the National Anthem.”

As a play caller, can you talk about the drops? How do you coach around drops?

“You just keep coming back. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do win the game. If you feel not confident in that stuff as a play caller, you go a different direction. If you think that’s what you’ve got to do to try to win the game, then you’ve got to count on guys. I think some guys made a bunch of good plays out there but the drops were pretty obvious. We had some big ones, some big moments and those guys have to bounce back. You can’t just win the game just running the ball or just throwing the ball. You’ve got to be able to do both. You’re going to have some good ones and some bad ones, but you’ve got to make sure you bounce back and not have one like that again.”

What was your assessment of Jimmy Garoppolo’s play?

“I think like the whole offense, I thought he battled. I thought he battled very hard. Hung in the pocket for a while. I thought he made some big plays, but I know he made a number of plays he’d like to have back.”

What did you see out of it WR Deebo Samuel? It looked like he was playing angry tonight.

“He’s as fearless as it gets going over the middle. He has strong hands. He had that one drop, I know he’d love to have that back. With Kittle out and Emmanuel going out, Deebo was the guy, I think, everyone was feeling the most out there. I think what you guys saw, I could feel also. He stepped up and made some pretty big plays today. He’s just got to keep working to get better.”

What were your impressions of the offensive line, particularly T Joe Staley and T Mike McGlinchey?

“It’s hard for me to tell just watching the game live, because I’m not always watching just them. I think everyone on the offense had their moments, but I think no one was consistent enough. I thought they gave us some decent time to throw. We didn’t always get guys open right away and I think we struggled in the run game. I think that was pretty obvious. There weren’t a lot of clean lanes were used to having.”

This was the largest deficit you have played with in a game. How was Jimmy on the sideline?

“Jimmy doesn’t really change. Jimmy is always the same, so there’s no difference there. I think our guys, just watching our defense continuing to get us back in the game and give us those opportunities, I think our guys were fired up every time they went out there. Our guys were fired up. We thought we really had a chance to win it there at the end and just came up short.”

The last play, Fred Warner’s forced fumble on the offensive lineman.

“No, it was pretty impressive. I didn’t get to see all of it. I saw the ball, I saw the starting of the sack and the ball came out and I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but it was a huge play that got us back in it.”