SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers have lost three consecutive games and are four games behind the division-leading Los Angeles Rams in the NFC West.
The club will not have its franchise quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, or coach Kyle Shanahan’s hand-chosen running back, Jerick McKinnon, for the remainder of the season, either.
So, after the 49ers’ error-filled 28-18 loss to the previously winless Arizona Cardinals, how do they keep things together and prevent the rest of the season from spiraling completely out of control?
“When you’re 1-4, you have to look at yourself in the mirror," 49ers tight end George Kittle said. "It brings out a lot of character. You’re going to see what type of guys are on the team, and I feel like we have a team that’s going to fight, grind and come back next week better than ever.”
The 49ers opened the season expecting to be vastly improved from the team had a franchise-worst 0-9 beginning. There was even talk in some circles about the 49ers making a run at the playoffs.
“Sometimes you slow down and have stumbling blocks, and you have to keep fighting and keep getting back up,” 49ers running back Alfred Morris said. “I know the kind of guys we have will do just that. We can’t drag our feet. We have to figure this thing out now before it gets too far out of hand.
“It sucks to be 1-4 right now. It’s definitely not how we thought the season would be going, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt right now, so we have to find a way to make it work.”
Shanahan has yet to face a situation where there is finger-pointing in the locker room. It is his job to identify the areas that are needed to improve, and then take the proper measures to fix the problems.
“We know why we lose each game,” Shanahan said. “Each one has been a different reason, but we’re not going to sit here and just start pointing fingers at each other and chasing a bunch of stuff. You’ve got to look into each game and what it is.
“We’ve got to play a lot better, and when you’re not there on all cylinders, when you make some mistakes like that, when you’ve got a bunch of guys going in and out, it’s very tough to win if you make those mistakes. We’ve got to eliminate those mistakes and that will give us a much better chance.”
Veteran left tackle Joe Staley appeared especially exasperated as he spoke with reporters at his locker. Staley returned to action from a knee injury and had a difficult time against Cardinals outside pass rusher Chandler Jones.
“I just want to win football games,” Staley said. “It’s kind of frustrating to come into the locker room and talk about what might have been. We got to put it together and start doing what we need to do to win games.”
On to Green Bay
Things do not get any easier for the 49ers. They now hit the road for a Monday night game against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, who are coming off a loss to the Detroit Lions.
“It’s one week at a time,” said 49ers veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who played every defensive snap after after missing one game with a calf strain. “Regardless of what your record is, if it’s 3-1, 3-2, 4-0, 5-0, it’s one week at a time. So, either way, it sucks to lose that game, but you have to move on.
“You have to learn from it and move on from your mistakes and get ready for Green Bay. We have eight days to get ready to go play Green Bay and A-Rod, and that’s what we’re going to focus on.”
Running back Matt Breida, who appears likely to miss at least one game with a mid- to high ankle sprain, was not the only injury the 49ers sustained Sunday.
Center Weston Richburg sustained a knee injury and did not play the final 13 snaps of the game. Tight end Garrett Celek had a quad injury and did not return after playing 26 snaps. The 49ers reported linebacker Reuben Foster with a shoulder injury, but he did not miss a snap.
Wide receiver Pierre Garçon (shoulder) and tight end George Kittle (knee) both returned to action and finished the game.
This ‘n’ that
Quarterback C.J. Beathard posted career highs with 34 completions on 54 attempts for 349 yards. He threw two touchdown passes, but he also tossed two interceptions and lost two fumbles. His first interception came on a pass that deflected off Garçon's hands.
“We just try to keep getting better, but we need to help C.J.,” Garçon said. “I didn’t help him. We have to make those tough plays.” . . .
Wide receivers Victor Bolden and Richie James caught one pass apiece for their first career receptions. Bolden’s play went for 10 yards, while James’ catch was a 7-yard gain. ...
The 49ers rose to No. 16 in the NFL in total offense after piling up 447 total yards Sunday. But the 49ers also sunk to worst in the league in giveaways/takeaways at minus-8. ...
The 49ers’ 92 offensive plays was the most by any NFL team since Nov. 3, 2013, when the Raiders ran 92 plays against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Raiders lost that game, 49-20. ...
The 33 first downs were most the 49ers have achieved in a single game since Oct. 18, 1998, when they had 36 first downs in a 34-31 win over a young Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts.