Rookie wide receiver Dante Pettis had the best games of his career over the past two weeks. He hauled in five receptions for 129 yards with two touchdowns, all career highs, this past Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. Pettis appears to be emerging as the playmaker the San Francisco 49ers envisioned when they made him a second-round draft pick out of Washington in April.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan joined KNBR on Thursday and discussed his rookie wideout. With Pierre Garçon still dealing with a knee injury, Pettis will likely continue to see his role increase in the 49ers' final four games.

"Dante has played his best two games, starting with Tampa," Shanahan said on the "Tolbert & Lund" show. "That was his best game [up to that point]. Then he played better versus [Seattle]."

Pettis suffered a knee injury during the 49ers' Week 4 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers. He missed the next three games and, after that, was eased back slowly.

"He got healthy here, I'd say a week before the bye week because it was his first real healthy game versus the Giants," Shanahan continued. "He didn't get a lot of opportunities, though. Then versus Tampa, losing [Marquise Goodwin] the day before the game, we felt Dante was ready to go, just looking better in practice and stuff, and doing it a couple of weeks in a row. But then when 'Quise missed a game, it opened up a lot more opportunities for Dante.

"We only played with four (wide receivers), so we left him out there the whole time. He made some plays. By no means was he perfect. There was a bunch of things that he struggled with but what was neat about him, things that we kind of got on him for in the first quarter and stuff, by leaving him out there, not having a guy to rotate with him, he fought through it, and he improved as the game went on, and made some plays. He was much better at the end of the game than the way he started.

"He had the same situation last week in Seattle, and I thought he took another huge step forward. By no means has he fully arrived or (is he) there yet, but he's shown a lot of signs of what we brought him here to do. You expect that, especially through a rookie season, but hopefully, he can finish this strong and be a big part of what we do next year."



Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin has missed the past two games as he dealt with a personal matter. He returned this week, and Shanahan reiterated that he will play against the Denver Broncos. With Garçon ailing, fans could see a starting duo of Goodwin and Pettis on Sunday.

"He's going to play," Shanahan said of Goodwin. "It's been great getting him back in the building. He's been away here two weeks and dealing with some tough stuff [...] He's done a good job in practice. We've had two practices with him. He's hopped right back in, and we expect to get him in there this week."

The 49ers and Broncos kick off on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. PT from Levi's Stadium.

You can listen to the entire interview with Shanahan below.