49ers

49ers' Kyle Shanahan explains offense's end-of-half plan vs. Ravens

shanahanravensusa.jpg
USATSI

49ers' Kyle Shanahan explains offense's end-of-half plan vs. Ravens

BALTIMORE -- Kyle Shanahan had two goals Sunday when the 49ers took over at their own 23-yard line with 1:58 remaining in the first half.

“When we get that ball at the end of the second quarter, our No. 1 goal is to finish with the ball in our hands,” the coach said after his 49ers' 20-17 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. “We’d love to score, and we also want to work that clock.”

Actually, the 49ers failed twice. They did not score, and a Ravens player touched the ball last when Marlon Humphrey, a starting cornerback, got his hand on Robbie Gould’s 51-yard field-goal attempt as time expired at the end of the first half.

"I think it got a little tipped from what I saw," Shanahan said. "We were short on the field goal. I wish we had gotten closer so we're not short on the field goal."

Trailing 17-14 late in the first half, the 49ers moved the ball 42 yards on seven plays with five pass plays and two called runs. Raheem Mostert had a 19-yard run on the first play after the 49ers took possession. The 49ers huddled up and did not snap the ball again until there was 1:20 left in the half.

Then, the 49ers had a first-and-20 from their own 34 after receiver Emmanuel Sanders was called for an illegal block above the waist. After a short gain on a pass play with 1:13 left in the half, the 49ers did not run another play until there were 32 seconds remaining.

“We were pretty far back there,” Shanahan said. “We wanted to eat up the clock, and once we got to a minute, push it a little bit. And that’s what we did.

"We didn't get enough chunk plays at the end. I wish we had made it [the field goal]."

Mostert ran the ball on a second-and-12 play and picked up 16 yards. In the final 26 seconds, the 49ers picked up 5 yards on a penalty, then attempted three passes before settling for Gould’s field-goal attempt.

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in NFC playoff race after loss vs. Ravens]

With 10 seconds left in the half, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hit Mostert on a 3-yard pass on third-and-4 to leave Gould with the long kick. Gould was in his first game back after missing three games because of a right quadriceps injury.

“It’s difficult,” Garoppolo said. “It’s very difficult just dealing with the timeouts and how much time is left. You obviously don’t want to give them another opportunity, so I thought we did a good job with that. We could’ve gotten Robbie a little closer and helped him out.”

Falcons' Dan Quinn also remembers the good plays Kyle Shanahan called in Super Bowl collapse

Falcons' Dan Quinn also remembers the good plays Kyle Shanahan called in Super Bowl collapse

While a lot of the football world criticized Kyle Shanahan for how things went wrong in the fourth quarter of the Falcons' 34-28 loss to the Patriots in Super Bowl 51, Atlanta coach Dan Quinn remembers a lot of the things that went right that day.

“There’s always criticism after the fact, but he made a hell of a lot of good calls, too,” Quinn said Wednesday on a conference call with Bay Area reporters.

Shanahan got out of his contract with the Cleveland Browns after the 2014 season, so he could join Quinn’s staff as the Falcons’ offensive coordinator. Shanahan spent two seasons working under Quinn.

Shanahan and Quinn will meet for the first time as head coaches on Sunday at Levi’s Stadium when the 49ers play host to the Atlanta Falcons.

Under Shanahan’s offensive guidance, the Falcons had the league’s highest-scoring team, the No. 2-ranked offense in yards, and quarterback Matt Ryan won the NFL’s MVP with the best season of his career. Shanahan was named NFL Assistant Coach of the Year.

But after leading the New England Patriots, 28-3, in the second half of Super Bowl 51, things fell apart.

Shanahan was roundly criticized for being too aggressive with his play calls, the Falcons’ defense imploded, and the Patriots rallied for the victory in overtime. Critics point to a strip sack of Ryan in the middle of the fourth quarter with the Falcons leading by 16 points and the failure to run the ball later to chew up more clock.

“If there were one or two (calls) that he’d like to have back, well, that is in any game,” Quinn said. “I’d love to have any game rip and go like you want. But all of it, you learn from. And then you don’t really get to apply it until you’re in that moment again.

“The guy is a hell of a play-caller, and a hell of a football coach. I think he proved that then, and continues to do that today.”

The following day, Feb. 6, 2017, the 49ers officially announced Shanahan as the organization’s 20th head coach.

The 49ers currently rank No. 2 in points (30.5) and fourth in yards (388.6), while the Falcons are 14th in points (23.1) and seventh in yards (376.5).

The 49ers (11-2) are tied with the Baltimore Ravens for the best record in the NFL. The Falcons (4-9) are playing much better, winning three of their past five games.

Quinn said he always has been impressed with Shanahan’s ability to adapt his scheme, going back to when he implemented the read option in Washington with Robert Griffin as his quarterback.

“Here, we ripped it quite a bit with Matt,” Quinn said. “Now, he’s back in terms of the run game and how that’s a factor. I think he’s done it in a number of different ways. I wouldn’t say I don’t think it’s more emptying the playbook one side or the other. But what he’s always had is a really bold and aggressive nature to make plays.”

[RELATED: Why 49ers' McGlinchey can't wait to face Falcons QB Ryan]

Shanahan was particularly creative with his play-calling in the 49ers’ 48-46 victory over the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. Quinn said it goes back to Shanahan’s preparation and his “concrete way” he builds a game plan.

“I think that’s an example in that game of, ‘OK, we’re going to have to score some points,’ and find some ways to create some momentum, and he was bold enough to do that,” Quinn said. “That really sums up who he is as a play-caller.”

NFL rumors: 49ers re-signing Dontae Johnson with Richard Sherman injured

NFL rumors: 49ers re-signing Dontae Johnson with Richard Sherman injured

The 49ers have re-signed cornerback Dontae Johnson and wide receiver Jordan Matthews, the team announced Wednesday morning.

The 49ers expect to be without starter Richard Sherman for multiple games due to a strained right hamstring. 

Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley are expected to be the 49ers’ starting cornerbacks as long as Sherman is out of action. Johnson provides depth in the 49ers’ defensive backfield, along with D.J. Reed.

Johnson, 28, was among the 49ers’ final cuts before the start of the regular season. He re-signed with the club on Oct. 3 and was waived on Nov. 11. Adam Caplan of Sirius-XM NFL Radio first reported the re-signing of Johnson.

Johnson (6-foot-2, 200 pounds) has appeared in 71 games in his NFL career with 22 starts. He played his first four NFL seasons with the 49ers from 2014 to ’17 after being selected in the fourth round of the 2014 draft.

[RELATED: 49ers place Goodwin on season-ending injured reserve]

Matthews also was one of the team's final cuts before the regular season. He re-signed with the club on Oct. 3, but was then cut three weeks later. The six-year pro has 3,288 career receiving yards and 22 touchdowns. 

Center Weston Richburg also was placed on season-ending injured reserve. He tore his patellar tendon on Sunday against the Saints.