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Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Why Kyle Shanahan advocates caution to 49ers after rout of Eagles

Dec 6, 2023 at 12:50 PM--

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan stepped up to the podium on Wednesday, addressing questions ahead of the team's first practice of the week. One reporter informed the coach that his Niners sit atop all power rankings after their commanding 42-19 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday.

"That's great," Shanahan responded sarcastically, displaying little interest in the news, as expected. He knows that power rankings mean nothing.

However, the 49ers' status in this week's power rankings reflects how the national media perceives the team, acknowledging Shanahan's squad as the best in the NFL. Despite this, the coach has urged caution among his players, emphasizing that perceptions can quickly shift.

"I know the end result looked really good, but you guys saw it could go any way," Shanahan said. "They brought it to within one score there in the third quarter after [LB] Dre [Greenlaw] got kicked out. [We] easily could have been down 21-0 after the first quarter. There's a very fine line there between two to five plays, and it ends up looking like the game got out of hand.

"It's very similar to the Thursday night game versus Seattle. That was a close game. Luckily, our defense stayed strong in there in that third-quarter rally, but that was right there. And just a couple of plays, and then it doesn't look close, but they're always close."

His players understand the message.

"I think when you're a really good team, these are the types of weeks where you have to not fall into the trap of feeling good about yourself and come out and take it to another notch," defensive end Nick Bosa said on Wednesday. "And if we could do that, then we're exactly who we need to be."

The 49ers are well-acquainted with adversity. They suffered through a three-game losing streak in October. Fortunately, they rebounded, winning their four games since that setback.

Shanahan has a talented roster at his disposal, widely regarded as one of the best in the league. The offense features several playmakers, including Christian McCaffrey, Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, and George Kittle. His quarterback, Brock Purdy, is playing at an MVP level.

When asked if this is the best offense he's had as a coach or offensive coordinator, Shanahan responded, "It always has the potential. I know the best one was the one I was with in Atlanta in 2016, but we feel pretty good like that team, too, so it's got potential. I'll let you decide."

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