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Kyle Shanahan: 49ers still have “got to improve” despite 3-0 start

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 23, 2023 at 1:25 PM--

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The San Francisco 49ers improved to 3-0 on the season after a 30-12 victory over the New York Giants on Thursday Night Football—dominating from the jump and never letting up a two-possession lead after a 17-6 advantage going into halftime.

However, that dominating performance doesn't mean that the 49ers played at their peak, at least according to Kyle Shanahan, who was pleased with his team's play on a tough Thursday night, but still pointed out a couple of improvements to look at going forward.

"Yeah, definitely, [I still think we have some work to do]," Shanahan said. "We did real good, time of possession, I think we had like 40 minutes. I thought our defense played real well. I thought they stepped it up. They started doing that in the second half last week and I thought it continued into today. It was a good job making them one-dimensional in the run game. But we did very well in third downs on offense today, which allowed us to keep some drives going. But I think we got to improve because I think we could have more points than that."

On top of scoring more points, Shanahan pointed to some of the special teams' miscues as another area to work on, with the 49ers making some similar mistakes in back-to-back weeks.

"Yeah, [the special teams mistakes] was huge. I felt like we had all the momentum right there and then those two special teams penalties gave them a chance to get back into it," Shanahan said. "They got the big one to get us backed up."

"Our defense did an awesome job. I believe it was three-and-out to start. That's our chance to really take control of the game and we ended up getting the penalty to have us backed up. We had a fumbled snap, I believe on first-down miscommunication between the quarterback and center. Then when we punted to get in that penalty two weeks in a row for the same thing was huge. That gave them a great field position and made it a game there for a second."

Brock Purdy acknowledged some of the early bumps he faced in the game, but also how he was able to settle in, leading to another 30-point performance for the 49ers.

"There were some looks that were there that I was off and inaccurate or some things just didn't happen right within our scheme. I felt like it was a little choppy at first and then once we got into a rhythm, we sort of saw what they were doing and at what point in the game they're going to start doing stuff," Purdy said.

The quarterback reiterated some of what Shanahan said as well, pointing to the desire to convert the three shorter field goals into touchdown opportunities in order to maximize scoring chances.

"We had a good feel for it, a couple drives into the game once we got rolling, we were putting some drives together, we got in the red zone and we just have to score. Obviously, the field goals and putting up points are great, but our standard, we want to be able to score touchdowns when we get in the red zone."

But, the 49ers have to feel happy about their season three weeks in, scoring 30 points in three consecutive games, while allowing just 42 total points thus far.

They'll look to continue their strong start in a home bout against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, followed by a tough Week 5 battle against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium.

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