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Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

How Kyle Shanahan responded when asked if his 49ers were prepared for the Seahawks

Dec 6, 2021 at 12:00 PM--

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was getting a lot of the credit for the San Francisco 49ers' turnaround after winning three straight and four of five. The winning streak ended on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, so it is only natural that Shanahan receives his share of the criticism after the loss.

Despite missing some key players entering the Week 13 contest, the 49ers entered the NFC West battle as the favorites. The Seahawks were 3-8 entering the game, and the 49ers were 6-5.

Shanahan was expecting a battle, though, saying last week that he believed the Seahawks are better than their record and the game would come down to the final series. It did, and Shanahan's 49ers failed to tie to the game in the closing seconds.

After the loss, the coach was asked if it was challenging to get the message across to his players that Seattle, despite their record, should not be overlooked.

"No. Not at all," Shanahan responded. "It's real simple."

Were the 49ers prepared, though? The team committed costly mistake after costly mistake and couldn't overcome those miscues. The coach doesn't believe that was due to a lack of preparation, though.

"Yeah, we were prepared for it, but it's sports," Shanahan said while appearing somewhat perplexed by the question itself. "We tried to play our best, but there's some turnovers, wish we caught that ball on third down, some mistakes we had. But yeah, we were prepared."

The players also seem to feel they were well-prepared for a tough divisional battle. Last week, tight end George Kittle was well aware that their NFC West rival has owned them over the past decade, winning 16 of the past 19—now 17 of the past 20. It was a stat that one Seahawks fan at Lumen Field made sure to remind the visiting Niners.

"It was a dogfight," quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo said after the loss. "We knew that going into the game, though. It's always, whatever the records are between these two teams, it's always going to be a 60-minute game, and that was a battle. It really was. There were some sore guys out there, both sides of the ball, but at the end of the day, we've just got to finish that drive."

All of San Francisco's 23 points came in the first half. The offense failed to put the game away in the second half. Kittle led the team with an impressive 181 receiving yards and two touchdowns but felt even that wasn't enough.

"It's brutal," Kittle said after the game. "Again, losing sucks. ... I think our defense played a hell of a game. They did about everything they could to keep us in the game and give us an opportunity, and our offense, we didn't really do anything in the second half. And it's hard to win in Seattle if you don't really do anything in the second half."

San Francisco will try to turn things around this weekend against the Cincinnati Bengals, and keep their postseason hopes alive. Right now, Shanahan's squad is sitting in the final of seven NFC playoff spots, so there is no more room for error.

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