Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan proud of 49ers’ effort vs. Buccaneers, defense plays inspiring football

Sep 9, 2019 at 12:47 PM--

Kyle Shanahan has his first winning record as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. His squad sits at 1-0 after losing its season debuts during each of the last two years.

"Feels good. Can we stop right now?" Shanahan jokingly asked after the game. "It feels nice to finally be on the plus side. Last year, we got to .500 at 1-and-1, so it feels better this year, so far."

The 49ers were indeed 1-1 after two weeks of play last year. Then they went on to lose six straight games on the way to a four-win season.

Sunday's game was not perfect, at least on the offensive side of the ball. Still, a victory is a victory. The 49ers have a lot of work to do. The penalties need to be cleaned up. San Francisco had 11 for 87 yards with some nullifying some potential scoring opportunities.

Sunday's game felt different from last season, though. Had last year's offense struggled as it did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the 49ers probably would have lost. In fact, they did. San Francisco went into Tampa, Florida on November 25, 2018, amid several distractions, and dropped the Week 12 contest by a score of 27-9.

This year, the 49ers rebuilt defensive front caused the type of chaos the team has hungered for in recent years and forced four takeaways, including three interceptions and two pick-sixes.

"I think it's huge, especially just as hard as we played," Shanahan said. "It's fun to win when you can be hard on the guys the next day because there's lots of stuff on that tape that could have cost us that game in all three phases.

"Very rarely is it perfect but I was disappointed with that, and to still be able to pull out a win says a lot about the guys we've got in there, how important it was to them, how hard they were fighting. They weren't looking to make excuses or looking to blame it on someone. They all just kept grinding, and when you do that, usually, good things happen."

Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston was under duress for much of the game. He managed to complete 20 of his 26 passes for 194 yards with a touchdown and the three interceptions. Winston was also sacked three times on the way to a 45.4 passer rating.

"We just felt Jameis (was) uncomfortable," cornerback Richard Sherman said after the game. "He wasn't in rhythm. He couldn't hit the top of his drops comfortably. He was looking at the rush a lot of times, but he's still crafty. He avoided a few sacks. He's very ingenuitive in the pocket, very similar to Ben Roethlisberger, as I said earlier."

The defensive performance inspired the offense, which fans hope will get its miscues cleaned up before the 49ers' Week 2 contest against the Cincinnati Bengals.

"Watching Nick Bosa get sacks and watching Dee Ford get strip fumbles, it gets the offense going when your defense is playing like that," tight end George Kittle said. "Sherm with the pick-six, Ahkello (Witherspoon) with the pick-six, it just gets you fired up.

"It's hard to watch an offense go down on your defense (for) like a 12-play drive for a touchdown. That kind of drains the offense too, sitting there. When your defense makes those big plays, it just gets everyone excited, and it gets the offense moving. It's good vibes, really. It just gets you going."

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