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Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan says 49ers ‘manned up’ after everyone counted them out

Sep 28, 2020 at 9:52 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers were missing so many players, many of whom are starters, as they returned to MetLife Stadium for their Week 3 matchup against the New York Giants. While the 49ers were still favored to win the game, the injuries from the weekend before could have set up an upset.

Last week, head coach Kyle Shanahan let his players dwell on the losses, including their star pass rusher, Nick Bosa, for a couple of days. Once Wednesday hit, however, it was time to prepare for the Giants.

That's when things got better.

Once players started focusing on the Giants and the game plan to defeat them, everything else faded to the background. It must have worked because the 49ers walloped the Giants by a score of 36-9, earning back-to-back wins at MetLife Stadium after dropping their season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

Now, at 2-1, the 49ers are back in the race for the NFC West. They own the same record as two other division opponents and are just one game behind the Seattle Seahawks.

"I was like, hey, this NFL's a tough league," head coach Kyle Shanahan told Peter King of NBC Sports on Sunday night. "If we don't change our mindset on this, we're gonna get embarrassed. You start that on Wednesday and you try and just address it, address the elephant in the room so you can get over it. We started talking about how many guys we lost last year. We lost a ton of guys last year too. The hard thing was, we lost two really good ones in Nick Bosa and [Solomon Thomas, both to ACL injuries]. But a lot of the other guys we lost, we are gonna get back. We need to make sure that we manned up and had a great week of practice. I thought Wednesday was the best practice we've had all year. By the time we got back to New Jersey on Saturday night at our meetings and stuff, our team felt good."

On Sunday, the 49ers didn't look like a team decimated by injuries. New York couldn't stop anything Shanahan and company threw at them. San Francisco nearly doubled the Giants' time of possession and passing yards.

"In the game, our team just stuck with it, and we kept persevering, and it was 16-9 [late in the third quarter], and finally, we just wore 'em down took over," Shanahan continued. "It was really tough in the first half because our team knew how big of a game plan we had going to Jordan Reed, and to lose him early, with George Kittle not playing, that was a big deal. But then Ross Dwelley comes in and really helps us when we need tight end help, and it was really cool to see.

"It was a good learning experience for everyone. I just learned . . . our team likes football. People kinda counted us out, and that's how we felt a lot last year. It wasn't till we were about 7-0 I feel like people started taking us seriously. In football, you never stay the same; you're always a different team. You go through things together. But our depth and our love of the game—I think those things really helped us through a tough time."

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