CHICAGO -- Winning cures all. Or, at least in Kyle Shanahan's case, a 49ers win Sunday delivered a welcome reprieve from his least favorite topic.
Riding a four-game losing streak, the 49ers fought back Sunday in Chicago, leaving Soldier Field with a much-needed 33-22 win over the Bears. Starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo threw for 322 yards and rushed for two touchdowns while rookie signal-caller Trey Lance didn't get out of his jacket and beanie.
Garoppolo's solid play plus a W meant no quarterback controversy questions for Shanahan. At least, for now.
"Gotten used to it. I don't know what else we'll talk about if we don't have that," Shanahan said with a smile Sunday after the 49ers' win. "No. It's -- yeah, I don't mind you guys not asking."
The 49ers' offense got off to another sluggish start Sunday, settling for field goal attempts on all four of their first-half possessions.
But Deebo Samuel's 83-yard catch-and-run in the third quarter delivered a jolt of electricity to the offense, and Shanahan finally found the play-calling rhythm he has been searching for. The 49ers never punted Sunday and rolled over the Bears in the second half to snap their four-game skid.
"I felt our offense -- I feel like when you guys ask that question, it's more about me," Shanahan said about finding a flow as a play-caller. "But I felt the whole offense was in a rhythm, which makes me in a rhythm when I'm calling plays. But it was just -- the guys made a ton of plays out there. They were able to make some key ones on third down. Thought it was a little frustrating at the beginning. We felt like we were moving, and we kept getting in between that 30 and 40 and couldn't keep it going, and finally we did that more in the second half, which was great."
Garoppolo has been under an immense amount of scrutiny all season. Coming back to his hometown, with his job possibly on the line, the veteran looked like the Garoppolo of old and delivered a win when he and his team desperately needed it.
"I think it's nice to maybe not have to listen to it as much for a week," Shanahan said of Garoppolo dealing with the noise."I think Jimmy does it as good as anybody. Jimmy's not a social media guy. He's not a guy who's sitting there watching stuff. I think he's been around the league long enough to know that stuff doesn't help you. But you also -- you have to answer questions and stuff, so you're aware. But that goes with the territory. For the quarterback, the coordinators, the head coach, that's part of this business. And it's what we sign up for. And if you can't deal with it, usually, you don't last. And he handled it very well this week."
Now at 3-4 and in the thick of the NFC playoff picture, Garoppolo and the 49ers return home for a Week 9 bout with the Arizona Cardinals, hoping they can bottle whatever they found in Chicago and make Shanahan's job a little easier at the microphone for the rest of 2021.