Shanahan spoke about the strong play of the defense and recapped the team’s 14-9 loss to the Chicago Bears.
“Alright, with the injuries [TE Garrett] Celek had a concussion and he was out the second quarter, I think. [WR Dante] Pettis, knee, out. [RB Matt] Breida, the ankle went out. Didn’t return. [CB] K’Waun [Williams], knee, didn’t return and [WR Marquise] Goodwin had an Achilles there at the end.”
Is there any indication with Dante how serious that knee injury is?
“Yeah, I was told they believe MCL. They didn’t say ACL, so that was good news so far.”
Looking at that last play, what do you make of it? Did you want Nick to tuck it there?
“From where I was, it looked like he could get. I know Nick, he told me at the end that he probably thought he could of. He played a helluva game, so it’s unfortunate it came down to that fourth down. I wish we would have stayed on the field.”
Do you chalk that up to inexperience?
“No, I mean, we’ve got guys who are aggressive. You make a lot of plays being aggressive, sometimes that doesn’t always work. It looked like he took an aggressive play. I don’t know what he saw on it. I know it (the pass) went out of bounds and sailed, so you would obviously say definitely run it. But, he made a number of aggressive plays in that game and some worked out and some didn’t.”
You said Goodwin had an Achilles?
Is it serious?
“I don’t believe so. Yeah, I don’t believe so.”
On the previous drive, on the interception, it looked like the pass was a little in front. It looked like Marquise was anticipating a hit. What did you see?
“Pretty much like that. You’re looking at Kittle, the backer was on him. Then you go right next to ‘Quise is number two. He got rerouted off the line. Slowed him down a hair. Had him a little bit behind the play, but he definitely went by the MIKE linebacker, the ball was just a hair in front of him. Definitely can make it an easier catch, and ‘Quise could make a tough catch there too. It was an unfortunate turnover.”
How do you look at this overall? Do you look at it like you went toe-to-toe with a playoff team or do you look at it, can you not think like that with a loss?
“That’s a real good team. I was happy and proud with how hard our guys fought in all three phases. They are a playoff team definitely, but every week in the NFL teams are hard to beat. So, I don’t really look at it that way. I was really hoping we could finish this year with a winning record at home. I think that would have been really good for the fans and just everyone out here. We ended up finishing 4-4 at home, so that was the real disappointing thing for us today.”
You were able to get some takeaways today and often times they were going after the ball after plays get stripped. Is that finally coming through?
“It was huge. It looked like it today. I feel like we’ve been going for the ball all year. It looked like we were getting better at it today. I know we got our hands on two. The ball was bouncing around a lot. A number of ones came but they were down on. I think that gave us a chance to win this game. (I thought) if we were close to winning the turnover battle, and I think if we would have, we would have had an even had a much better chance to win. Our last turnover in the redzone was tough to recover from.”
That and the tipped balls were mostly a result of because the throws were so quick?
“No, a couple of them were, but it’s because they have a very good front. They have very good edge rushers. Probably the best in the league. Probably the best inside rushers too in the league. There’s a lot of push regardless. You can see that on film every week. You can see it today and I think they got us on our first two third downs and that was just tough.”
What was your view of the late hit on Bears QB Mitchell Trubisky and then the fallout from all that?
“I saw the holding when they left. Didn’t see the late hit until I saw it on the screen. Definitely looked like a good call. But, then I didn’t see any of the melee after it.”
Did they give you an explanation on what triggered CB Richard Sherman getting thrown out?
“No, they just told me the players that were ejected and then the one player they told us with us, Sherm. So, I go, ‘Did he throw a punch?’ and the ref who told me wasn’t on that side. He told me he wasn’t sure. If you get ejected, it’s probably because you threw a punch. So, I assume so.”
You shared a handshake with Sherman coming off the field. Can you just say what that conversation was like?
“They told me first, so I just told him the news before. I just told him I appreciated how he battled today and he’s just going to go watch this fourth quarter in the locker room. So hopefully we can finish the right way for him.”
What does it do for a young secondary having Sherm out there, not just playing well as he has, but being kind of in the middle of the melee and leading by example and a bunch of different ways I guess?
“I don’t know what happened over there. Sherm was very clear to me he was trying to get his brother’s back and I love for guys to do that as much as they can. It’s definitely better when they do as much as they can and they don’t get ejected. But, they had two get ejected and we had one, so that was better. I respect the heck out of Sherm and I didn’t really see what happened.”
Your best chance at a touchdown was probably the incompletion to Kittle in the endzone and I’m wondering if you saw it well enough to--?
“Yes, I did. They were early. I thought they were too on the one to [WR Kendrick] Bourne down the sideline about four plays before that.”
You mean the flag that they picked up?
“Yep. We converted that third down on the next play, so I got over it faster.”
They took the ball and held it 7-and-a-half minutes and drove right down the field, 10, 9, passes for Trubisky. Just couldn’t stop them?
“From what I saw, I’d have to see more. Their completion percentage was high. They don’t throw many risky passes, it’s a lot of bubbles and just quick check downs underneath. When people aren’t there they are usually scrambling, or getting sacks. That happens a lot. I was very happy with our defense today. They did a good job keeping those guys out of the end zone. The one big drive that they had the touchdown on, there were a couple of penalties that we need to get better at, which I think gave them some big plays. But, I was happy with our defense today.”
I know you’re not concerned necessarily with the run-pass distribution, but passing the ball 38 times, you’re never down by more than one score. Was that just a function of Breida’s injury and the fact that the run game wasn’t as effective?
“It was more a function of what we’re going against. You would love to just run it every play, especially verse that pass rush and everything, but the only thing that they do better than stopping the pass is stopping the run. It’s tough. You try to balance it out. Eventually you get a gut in what they are doing schematically, some of the fronts that they are doing. Definitely thought throwing the ball there, when we decided, I’m sure you could see, gave us the best chance to win the game.”
Why do you think the defense has been playing so much better in recent weeks?
“I think we’ve had a lot more continuity the last month and guys have stayed healthier. We’ve been a little bit more consistent with the guys who have been out there. We’ve been playing with the same two inside linebackers, the same safeties, for the most part, the corners. I know we’ve had some change here with [CB] Akhello [Witherspoon] going out. [DB Tarvarius Moore] T-Moore got some good opportunities. They’ve played well. They’ve gotten better as it’s gone and it was nice to get some turnovers today.”
You said you liked the way that Nick played. What specifically impressed you?
“Going against that defense is a very big challenge and it’s as good of a pass rush as I’ve seen and that tied with the sound coverages and scheme. That’s a challenge. He did a good job today, especially throwing it 38 times, protecting the ball fairly well. I know we’d like to have that one back, but definitely wasn’t a bad decision. Just a hair off Quise’s hand. He hung in there. Everyone misses a couple, but he also made a couple that weren’t there. A couple off schedule plays that were very impressive. I thought Nick, under the circumstances, played very well.”
How do you think T Mike McGlinchey did keeping up with Bears LB Khalil Mack?
“Did a good job. Challenge, but did a good job.”