49ers fight emotions of another close loss, promising season gone bad

49ers fight emotions of another close loss, promising season gone bad

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- How many times can the 49ers be so close to a win that they can taste it?

They lost yet another game in the final minutes Sunday, dropping an 18-15 decision that gave the Cardinals their second win of the season. Both of those wins have come at San Francisco's expense.

This skid is similar to last season when the 49ers lost five games in a row by three points or less in Weeks 2 to 6. The main difference is that the expectations were much lower last season. The 49ers finished 2017 with a five-game winning streak and a franchise quarterback in the building. Predictions for 2018 had the playoffs as a real possibility.

[RELATED: 49ers' backup center plays regrettable role in loss]

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan stayed humble about the way his team finished 2017, but this still isn't the season he expected. Not at 1-7, with three more losses of three points or less.

“It’s tough,” Shanahan said. “Guys are really hurting in there, and they should be. If they weren’t, something's wrong with them. But it’s our job. It's what we do. It's our livelihood. We’re not happy at all with where this season has gone, and there's still a half a season to play.

“So, we need to step it up and do something about it. Season's not ending. We’re not going to sit here and run away. I want guys who are going to come out and fight, and I thought our guys did fight today. We just didn’t do it well enough.

"I’m going to continue coaching them, trying to get us better in every aspect. I know our guys are working to get better, but we weren’t good enough today. Thursday [against the Raiders] can’t come quick enough.”

Quarterback C.J. Beathard had a slow start to the day, but he managed to gain momentum in the third quarter. He finished the day completing 14 of his 28 passes for 190 yards, one touchdown and an 83.9 rating. He's no stranger to the close losses, having lived through them last season, too.

“Yeah, I mean, there’s so many of them that we feel like we could’ve or should’ve won,” Beathard said. “But it comes down to we didn’t, and we are where we are right now, and we’ve got eight games left. We’ve got to keep moving.”

Cornerback Richard Sherman hasn't been a part of a losing NFL franchise since his first season with the Seahawks in 2011. He still believes in the 49ers' mental resolve.

“We’re fighting,” Sherman said. “We’re fighting. Unfortunately, we’re not getting the results. These have been some of the toughest losses I’ve seen. We fought the whole game [Sunday], and they made plays the last four, five minutes, and we didn’t.

"Guys have learned how to fight. If nothing else, we’re going to know how to fight today, and guys are doing it. We’ve got to just find a way to make those plays.”

Kendrick Bourne stepped in for Pierre Garçon, who was held out of the game with a knee injury, was the 49ers' top wide receiver, catching seven of his 10 targets for 71 yards. He has no questions about the team losing focus after such emotional losses.

“No doubt at all,” Bourne said. “Nobody is flinching. That game, the same way it happened the last time we played them, it’s just frustrating. We were dominating them and just not finishing what we need to. We got to figure out how to fix that.”

[RELATED: 49ers have told Garcon about possible trade]

Fullback Kyle Juszczyk believes that while the losses has been frustrating, it's a learning opportunity for the younger 49ers.

“It’s pretty taxing emotionally, to be totally honest with you,” Juszczyk said, “but you got to look for some positives. I see young guys getting used to being in critical situations. Right now, we’re kind of learning what not to do. That’s one positive I can draw from it.

“This team is incredibly resilient. I feel like we stay very positive. So, yeah, I feel like we are staying in it.”

The 49ers have a short week, playing the Raiders on Thursday night. They will need to shake off this loss and start preparing, which might be the best thing for them.

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

Kyle Shanahan is 'doppelganger' of Bill Belichick, Colin Cowherd says

There are a litany of great head coaches in the NFL today, but few are both as universally beloved by colleagues and as overlooked by fans and media members as 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. The former Falcons offensive coordinator has fought an uphill battle since taking over prior to the 2017 season -- and has a 10-22 record to show for it. 

Colin Cowherd was recently discussing the NFL.com head coach rankings that were released yesterday, and he strongly disagreed with one particular selection.

"Shanahan, has a doppelganger in this league, it's called Belichick," Cowherd said. Bill Belichick is easily the most well-renowned head coach in the NFL and just came off of his sixth Super Bowl victory in February.

"Kyle Shanahan has an incredible career as a coordinator," the host of The Herd on FS1 explained. "Everywhere he's gone, He made Matt Schaub a pro bowler, he made Matt Ryan an MVP. Then he leaves, the teams aren't the same and the quarterbacks aren't the same. "

Cowherd pointed out some data on just how much better the 49ers have been with Jimmy Garoppolo on the field than when he's been off, but closed out his analysis with a strong take.

[RELATED: DeForest Buckner has big expectations for himself, 49ers in 2019 season]

"In two years, he will be a top-six coach."

With Shanahan and general manager John Lynch each having four years remaining on their contracts, 49ers fans can rest easy knowing they've got a very highly regarded head coach pacing the sidelines each week. The regular season opens Sept. 8 when San Francisco travels to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers. 

49ers, Raiders picked to be among most improved teams by NFL analyst

49ers, Raiders picked to be among most improved teams by NFL analyst

The 2018 NFL season was one every Bay Area fan would like to forget. Both the 49ers and Raiders ended the season with 4-12 records, as they each secured a top-five pick in the NFL draft.

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah shared his predictions for the most improved organizations in 2019 and both the 49ers and Raiders made the cut.

The 49ers top Jeremiah's board with the promise of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo being healthy for training camp and an offseason that saw them shore up an already strong defensive line group, signing Dee Ford to a long-term deal and drafting former Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa No. 2 overall in April's draft.

The Raiders, meanwhile, sit third in Jeremiah's rankings after making some of their own splashy moves over the NFL offseason. Oakland acquired All-Pro wide receiver Antonio Brown from the Steelers and also signed Vontaze Burfict, who was a Pro Bowler and second-team All-Pro with the Bengals in 2013.

[RELATED: 49ers' Kyle Shanahan ranked as 23rd-best veteran head coach by NFL.com]

It's hard to go anywhere but up for the Bay Area's NFL teams in 2019, but if Jeremiah's picks are accurate, there could be a lot more winning football coming to Northern California in the coming months.