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Kyle Shanahan, John Lynch describe the 49ers locker room at halftime vs. Lions

Jun 10, 2024 at 1:26 PM

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The San Francisco 49ers trailed the Detroit Lions by 17 points at halftime in last season's NFC Championship Game. To many, it looked like their quest for a trip to the Super Bowl was over. However, the mentality inside the 49ers locker room was different. While there weren't discussions about mounting a comeback, one thing was clear: the team was embarrassed.

"I was so angry, I couldn't think about winning or losing," head coach Kyle Shanahan shared at the 49ers' "State of the Franchise" event. "That wasn't the thing. It was like, 'Guys, if we're going out, we're not going out like this. When we come out, hey, we're gonna make this a problem.'"

The 17-point deficit wasn't the focus. Instead, it was the team playing better football than it had displayed during the first 30 minutes.

"It's just like, this isn't acceptable, and we gotta change this," Shanahan continued. "And everyone felt that way. So everyone was kind of embarrassed and pissed, and there wasn't a lot of talk. It was an energy, like, thank God we've got 30 more minutes because, after 30 more minutes, it's over. And so let's get this all out right now."

General manager John Lynch also spoke at the "State of the Franchise" event and acknowledged that he's typically an optimist. That wasn't the case that day.

"I was not optimistic right then," Lynch admitted. "It did not seem like it was our game. And I'll tell you, it was the first game in my tenure here that I went down to the locker room at halftime. I don't know what the hell for, but I felt compelled to go down, and I felt so much better. I felt the energy in that locker room.

"I was sitting in with the equipment man, and I'm just listening, and I could see [WR] Deebo [Samuel] over there, and I saw Deebo just breathing hard. And Deebo looked at me and said, 'Tell him to get me the ball.' ... And it was on."

Samuel caught the first two passes of the second half, the start of the 49ers engineering one of the most impressive comebacks in recent memory, knocking off the Lions 34-31 and punching their ticket to Super Bowl LVIII.

Lynch added, "That was a fun one."
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