Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

Chris Coduto-USA TODAY Sports

49ers remaining positive despite three-game losing streak

Oct 10, 2021 at 7:03 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers aren't anywhere near where they want to be five games into the regular season, but they're also not exactly down on themselves either as their bye week gets underway.

The 49ers fell 17-10 to the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, which marked their third consecutive loss after opening the season with wins over the Detroit Lions and Philadelphia Eagles. The loss sent the 49ers to 2-3 on the year after defeats at the hands of the Green Bay Packers and Seattle Seahawks in previous weeks, and at the moment they face a sizable deficit in the NFC West behind the 5-0 Cardinals and 4-1 Los Angeles Rams.

They're also dealing with a long list of injuries, most notably those to quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (calf), tight end George Kittle (calf), running back JaMycal Hasty (ankle), kicker Robbie Gould (groin), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (groin), and running back Jeff Wilson (knee), as well as season-ending knee injuries to cornerback Jason Verrett and running back Raheem Mostert.

Still, the players are keeping their heads up, in large part because they feel they could be unbeaten if things fell their way.

"As you can imagine, it's a pretty down feeling," offensive tackle Trent Williams said following the loss to the Cardinals. "We've got confidence though. We could easily be sitting at 5-0 right now. Obviously we're not -- we're 2-3. When we go back and revisit every loss, you can find some good in that. There were some things where we could have won the game, we just didn't take advantage of situations."

Defensive end Nick Bosa has a similar outlook to that of Williams, saying he still believes in the group of players the 49ers have put together.

"It's definitely not a great feeling. It's tough. All three losses are really close and (there were) just small things we could have done better. But I think we're still very confident in our team," Bosa said.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan also feels the 49ers could have won each of the games they lost, and that the team needs to use the days ahead to clean up some of the mistakes that have cost them over the past three weeks.

"We've got to play better football to win those games," Shanahan said. "We've lost three in a row. I think they were three games we could have won. They were good teams, but -- take nothing away from those guys, they ended up getting a win -- but I thought we had every opportunity to win those three games. That's more about us than anyone else. With those penalties in some crucial situations, not being able to convert on some third and fourth downs and having the turnovers, not getting enough turnovers, those things make it harder to win. We've got to find a way to do better, and I've got to find a way to get us to do better."

The 49ers will need to stack some wins together once they exit the bye, starting with their October 24th home prime time game against the Indianapolis Colts (8:20 p.m. ET/5:20 p.m. PT). From there, the 49ers travel to Chicago to play the Bears, then host the Cardinals and Rams before a road game against the currently winless Jacksonville Jaguars and a home game against the Minnesota Vikings to round out the November schedule. The hope is the 49ers will be healthier after the bye and will be able to get the momentum going that they'll need to come out of that stretch of games as a playoff contender.

"I'm just going to help motivate the guys and tell them we've got a lot to play for, because we do," safety Jimmie Ward said. "It's a long season. Yes, we lost three games, but we also won two games. You never know how this'll turn out this season. So basically just keep our heads up and move forward."

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