Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan: Wide receivers weren’t the problem in 49ers loss

Sep 13, 2020 at 6:43 PM--

There's plenty of blame to go around for the 49ers' 24-20 season-opening loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, but head coach Kyle Shanahan isn't about to single out his few healthy wide receivers as being part of the problem.

Granted, it didn't help the 49ers' cause on Sunday that they were down to three healthy receivers by the time the game ended due to Deebo Samuel (foot) and Brandon Aiyuk (hamstring) being sidelined and Richie James (hamstring) exiting the game early. But, while Shanahan wasn't happy with how the offense performed as a whole, in particular its failure to convert more than two of its 13 opportunities on third and fourth downs, he felt the team's remaining receivers -- Kendrick Bourne, Trent Taylor, and Dante Pettis -- did a solid job under the circumstances.

"I don't think those guys did play bad today," Shanahan said during his postgame press conference.

Bourne finished the game with two catches for 34 yards, one of them being one of the two successful third down conversions the 49ers had on the day. Taylor finished with two catches for five yards and Pettis finished with zero catches on one target, while both Taylor and Pettis had opportunities on punt returns.

There were certainly chances the receivers would like to have back, most notably the passes that went in their direction on the team's failed final possession. But Shanahan said the team wasn't planning much on throwing to the receivers this week given how thin they were at the position and didn't think they were a big reason behind the offense's inconsistencies.

"I'll watch the tape on them," Shanahan said. "There's a couple opportunities that they did have. KB (Bourne) had a big third down for us that he did his job on that. I think Trent had a chance on that last fourth down that we went to him on. I would like for it to get a little bit more in front of him. But I'm not blaming them at all in this game. We didn't do very good as a whole offense. The game plan wasn't going to those guys much knowing how light we were going into the game. Obviously we've got to get better in every spot, but this game isn't put on the receivers at all."

The 49ers will need to decide this week whether or not to add a receiver to their active roster. Likely candidates would include practice squad players Kevin White, River Cracraft, and Jauan Jennings. Shanahan says things will depend on if James and/or Aiyuk will be able to play next Sunday against the New York Jets.

"It all depends on how Richie ends up checking out tomorrow, how Aiyuk is, whether it's a possibility he can come back," Shanahan said. "I know he'll have a chance too next week because he got pretty close this week, so we'll see. We've still got some guys in here and some guys on the practice squad who if called upon, I know they'll be ready to help out."

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