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Takeaways from Shanahan’s postgame presser: “We’ve got to play better all-around”

The 49ers HC didn’t make any excuses for the team’s performance Sunday night.

Philadelphia Eagles v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan spoke to the media after Sunday night’s loss to the Eagles and refused to make excuses. Here are five takeaways from Shanahan’s presser.

Who’s to blame for the offensive line’s struggles?

When asked who was at fault for the line’s struggles, Shanahan said, “I think it was on everybody. That’s a good front. They did that to the team they played last week. Some’s on play-calling, some’s on Nick, some’s on all of us. We’ve got to play better and all around.” He added this to Trent Williams: “No, he’s healthy. Just didn’t have one of his best games. I’ll see more when I watch the film tonight, but I thought as a whole, the entire often struggled a little bit. Right when we did get some things going, it was really one weak link on each play that just got us in some bad situations and costs us some drives. So, expect him to do better and expect all of us to do better.”

Philadelphia did an excellent job of mixing up their fronts against the 49ers. They didn’t run traditional looks on every play. One play, you may have had a “4-3 over” look, then the next play, the Eagles would be in a 4-4 look, and follow that up with a “bear” front. The 49ers did not have an answer upfront, and the confusion led to missed blocks. The offensive line must be prepared for different looks moving forward because the Eagles did a great job of mixing up fronts. Expect more teams to do that to the offense moving forward.

Where were the receivers?

Through three quarters, the receivers only had two catches, largely because of George Kittle. Shanahan was asked whether he expected more from the wideouts moving forward, and he said, “Yeah, just how the game goes sometimes. I don’t remember any times where - they had a couple of opportunities, we didn’t get the play off. When you miss a few of those, and you just miss a few catches when you had a chance to get it, and it wasn’t their fault, I didn’t go to them. And then you struggle on some drives, that’s just what happens. I thought, for the most part, a lot of them, when we did go to them, they did a good job, but it takes a whole offensive to get the ball to a receiver. Not just the receivers.”

That takes us back to the offensive line. Philadelphia only blitzed Mullens four times. It seemed like a lot more, as Mullens was under pressure on 55% of his dropbacks. Mullens not moving much in the pocket hurt. On one sack where the 49ers ran play-action, Trent Williams looked like he didn’t anticipate Mullens to be anywhere near him on what appeared to be a throwback screen. That didn’t happen, and the play resulted in a sack. I want to watch the game again to see how many missed opportunities there were. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say there were quite a few.

Where you worried about the team’s performance heading into this game?

“I was worried about that a little bit on Monday and Tuesday. That kind of went away. I thought we had a good day of practice on Wednesday, not so good on Thursday, but I thought we came back and had a good Friday. I loved the energy of the guys at the hotel last night. I was expecting us to come out and play good. Missed a few at the beginning, just a couple of opportunities. When we did get it going finally, and I thought we had kind of a bump there when we had the turnover in the red zone on that pick. That’s an aggressive defense. It’s hit or miss with those guys. Just the style they play with, the style their front is, the style of their coverages. We had a couple opportunities we missed. And then the other ones we went for, we got way too many negative plays.

So, I wouldn’t say I thought it was a let down of guys, just their energy or everything, but we definitely didn’t play well today. Not to take anything away from Philly or anything, but just from an execution standpoint, the whole team playing together in terms of when one side is doing good, the other side does good also. I just didn’t like the rhythm of our whole team today, and we’ll have to go back to the drawing board tomorrow.”

Shanahan said he expected a big-win last week after the team practiced. He’s always been open, and Shanahan is spot-on about the lack of execution. As frustrating as Sunday night was, the Niners played like hot garbage and had a chance to win the game on the final drive. They often played behind the chains, the running game was non-existent, and missed tackles and bad contain on defense did them in. It’s unlikely we see the same type of mistakes when the starters return as we saw against Philadelphia. Not scoring in the red zone was tough to recover from. You could probably find a mistake on every drive. That’s not how this team operates.