SANTA CLARA -- Coach Kyle Shanahan is under the microscope more than at any point in his five seasons as coach of the 49ers.
The 49ers lost their fourth consecutive game Sunday night with a sloppy 30-18 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
Shanahan, known for his offensive system and play-calling, has been unable to push the right buttons for a 49ers offense that has sputtered along and converted just 31.4 percent of their third-down opportunities on the season.
Shanahan was asked after the 49ers’ latest meager showing if he believes the scrutiny he has received is justified.
“Yeah, you lose four games in a row, I’m the coach of this team,” Shanahan said. “I expect it and I deserve it.”
The 49ers have not looked like a well-coached team throughout their losing streak. On Sunday night, the 49ers wasted a timeout in the third quarter with an ill-advised replay challenge that Shanahan tried to take back.
Nothing is clicking for the 49ers on offense. The team has been atrocious on third downs. On Sunday, they converted just one of their 11 (9 percent) third-down chances. Nothing has been working for Shanahan, the play-caller.
"I don't think I've got in a great rhythm," Shanahan said. "I think we've done it on a couple drives, but we have not sustained that. No, I have not felt comfortable with it.”
The 49ers opened the game with an eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive. And after a quick takeaway, the 49ers' next drive stalled with three failed pass plays. The momentum of the game shifted from there.
In the second quarter, the 49ers had five consecutive drives in which they did not achieve a first down.
Finally, in the fourth quarter, the 49ers’ offense again showed some life with a three-play, 70-yard drive.
“We didn't get a big play in those others," Shanahan said. "Had a couple opportunities for them, didn't get them. In the first drive we hit all of them. On the last drive we hit all of them. Both of them I believe we avoided third down on all of them, got a bunch of explosives and it seemed pretty easy.
"It is tough to get explosives every drive. We had a few opportunities big time for it.
The 49ers fell to 2-4 on the season and have tumbled even further behind the Arizona Cardinals (7-0) and Los Angeles Rams (6-1), the front-runners in the NFC West.
“I told the guys they have to be tough-minded,” Shanahan said. “They got to stick together. We got guys with high character in there, and I think we have enough good football players in there. We got to come back and play better against Chicago.”