49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan
“I’ll start with injuries. [RB Matt] Breida, sprained ankle, didn’t return. [OL Weston] Richburg, knee, didn’t return. [TE Garrett] Celek, quad, didn’t. [WR] Pierre [Garçon] had a shoulder, he returned. [LB Reuben] Foster had a shoulder, he returned. And, [TE George] Kittle had a knee, he returned.”
Where do you start with this one when you talked to the team after the game?
“I just went through some of the obvious things with them. You look at a stat sheet and things like that, usually when, I think it’s like 90 plays to 40, or something like that, you double them in time of possession, yards. I thought our defense played their tail off. Did good on third down. You look at a lot of those things, it’s hard to find how you lost a game. Then it’s very easy when you look at the turnover column. I haven’t been part of any game, I don’t think many people have, where five turnovers to zero leads to a win. We have to improve that drastically to have a chance.”
How hard did Breida lobby to get back into the game and how much did his absence change the game?
“If Breida can’t go back in the game, then no one can go back in the game because he works as hard as anyone at that. He’s been one of our better players and obviously when he’s not in there it’s definitely not easier.”
The rhythm that you guys had on that opening drive was perfect almost. What happened, was it missing players that just evaporated from that point forth?
“I think a little of both. It takes 11 guys to execute a play. Had a couple misses. Had a couple of tips. They did a good job, especially [DE] Chandler Jones, some of their pressures. Getting their hands up, tipped some balls, had a couple penalties. Just didn’t get in that same rhythm.”
You ran quite a few screen passes today, was that something you thought you’d be able to burn them with?
“Yes. I don’t know about burning. It was just something we planned on doing going into the game.”
You haven’t seen the film but the four turnovers by QB C.J. Beathard, how many of those do you think you can pin on him specifically?
“He’s a quarterback and there’s a lot of responsibility on the quarterback to protect the ball. There’s 10 other guys out there that can make it easier on him too. I’ll get through all of them. Usually, fumbles it’s hard to pin on the quarterback, but we’ll look at them hard tomorrow and coach him up the best we can on them.”
Obviously, you had the 0-9 start last year. It’s a different year, but having gone through that does it help when you go through something like this right now?
“I don’t know. I think people individually can talk about it helping them personally and things like that. For me, it’s frustrating. Last year it was frustrating to start that way and we don’t like to lose. We put a lot of work into this. Every Sunday we come out very confident and we expect to win and we’ve come up short a number of times. I told our team, we would love to be 4-0 right now and we’re not or 5-0. It’s something that is hard to deal with, but it’s something that we all can. We know why we lose each game. Each one has been a different reason, but we’re not going to sit here and just start pointing fingers at each other and chasing a bunch of stuff. You’ve got to look into each game and what it is. This game, I thought our guys fought hard and gave us a chance to win the game, but when you have five turnovers that’s borderline impossible. So, we’ve got to improve that stuff. We’ve got to play a lot better and when you’re not there on all cylinders, when you make some mistakes like that, when you’ve got a bunch of guys going in and out, it’s very tough to win if you make those mistakes. We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes and that will give us a much better chance.”
C.J. had the two sack fumbles, specifically. Is that just something, he’s got to move out of the pocket when there’s that kind of pressure?
“Yes, again, I’ll look into it again. I think C.J. knows and whether you’re blocking well, whether people are open, all those things are tough things for a quarterback. But, the bottom line is you can’t lose the ball. Whether you get hit, whether someone’s not open, sometimes you need to get rid of it, sometimes you need to take sacks. But the worst-case scenario, we plan on ending that series with the ball in our hand and that’s something he’s got to do a better job of.”
Was that 75-yard touchdown a product CB Ahkello Witherspoon not getting the help that he was anticipating he was going to have from the middle?
“Yes. Usually in cover-three, you’ve got someone in the middle of the field, so it’s tough to get post and we did not have one there.”
Specifically, the fumble they returned for the touchdown, did you get a good look at that to say that was kind of on C.J.?
“My eyes are down field on it when the ball doesn’t go. What I do think happened, from what I saw, he was going to the right spot with the ball. He went to number two in his progression and when he got to number two, number two wasn’t open and so he pulled it back and then the guy hit him and then I saw the ball on the ground.”
What happened on the muffed extra point there?
“I’m not sure what happened. I know we missed it. I didn’t know if they bobbled the snap. I didn’t see it live. I saw that we didn’t attempt it. I don’t know if [Cardinals CB] Patrick [Peterson] got off the edge there or we bobble the snap. I wasn’t sure.”
Last year through the 0-9 start, the sense in the locker room was that everybody was still very close and positive. What is your sense on the sidelines from today’s game?
“I sensed the same thing. Guys are frustrated. Our guys are working. They are putting a lot of work in and when you go through some of that stuff it’s tough. We’re all competitive people and we want this to change and we know it will. But, no, I think we’ve got a tight group of guys. I think we’ve got guys who work hard. I think it’s going to take a couple days to get over this, just like it always does and I believe our guys will show up. We’ve got eight days now to get ready for Green Bay. Tomorrow, except for the injured guys, they’ll get it off and we’ll come in on Tuesday and treat that like a Monday and go through this hard with all the guys. And by the time they show up on Thursday, we’ll have a new game plan for them and they’ll be ready to go.”
Your first drive, I think you had seven or eight plays go to tight ends, fullbacks, running backs, how tough is it to keep doing that when you don’t have your X and your downfield guys that can kind of create that open room in the middle?
“The more guys you have out there, the easier it is, so you try to balance it all out. You try to go where they’re not defending and when they defend that you try to go to the other spots. The more you have it all, there’s five people who can touch the ball and it’s receivers, tight ends and running backs. So, the more you can mix it up, the better. The more guys go down, the harder it gets.”
49ers QB C.J. Beathard
Kyle pointed to it and obviously the five turnovers as the biggest deal. Obviously, as the quarterback you’re visibly frustrated by that. What went into all of that?
“You can’t win ball games turning the ball over five times. I feel like we played well in all the other aspects except for turnovers. Just got to take better care of the ball.”
What happened on the last one? The one that they returned for a touchdown.
“I don’t know. I was trying to get the ball to [WR] Trent [Taylor] and he was getting held. I decided to wait a little bit. The guy hit the ball out of my hand and that was it. Just got to get it out quicker.”
You guys went through some tough times last year. Obviously, a slow start this year, as well. What’s the feeling like in the locker room right now?
“Obviously, after a loss like that it doesn’t feel good for anybody. We’re going to stay positive throughout it all because we’ve got to move on to the next week. Obviously, we’ll watch the tape of this one, learn from it and get better from it. But, you can’t dwell on it for the next few days. Obviously, today and tonight will hurt and sting but you’ve got to get past it.”
On the touchdown to Trent, it seemed like you guys wanted to get the screen to RB Raheem Mostert, or was that just a fake screen?
“It was a fake screen. We tried to hit [TE] George [Kittle] behind it, but they played it well. They covered it up pretty well. I had to go off schedule and Trent did a good job of getting open.”
How much did you guys miss RB Matt Breida after he left after the first quarter?
“It was tough losing him. He was running the ball really well. Obviously, [RB Alfred] Alf [Morris] did a good job when he got in there, but they’re two different kinds of backs. In the pass game, Breida is a little bit quicker and whatnot. Hopefully, he’ll heal up quick and get back.”
How much did you miss Breida’s protection on some of those pressures from the safety blitzes?
“All the backs are good in protection – [FB Kyle] Juice [Juszczyk], Breida and Alf. But, I trust in all three of those guys to pick up their guys and they do.”
With Breida out and WR Pierre Garçon out for a bit before he came back in, did that make it harder for you and the offense to find rhythm today?
“Yeah. I think whenever two of your starters and skill players go out, it is going to be a little bit tougher. But, it’s a next man in mentality. You’ve got to trust whoever it is that’s in there to know their job and do a good job at it.”