SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers lost another Monday night heartbreaker and fell to the Giants 27-23 under the bright lights in prime time.
It’s been a recurring nightmare for the 49ers. Monday marked their fourth loss by four points or fewer. In all four of those games, the 49ers led at some point in the fourth quarter, if not in the final minutes.
Back in Week 4, the 49ers had the lead at the beginning of the final period. The Los Angeles Chargers then drove down the field for a field goal to take a two-point lead, and the score never changed.
In Week 6 in Green Bay, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers orchestrated a game-winning touchdown drive in less than a minute to hand the 49ers a three-point loss.
In Week 8 in Arizona, rookie QB Josh Rosen and the Cardinals grabbed a three-point lead with 34 seconds left on the clock, and the 49ers fell.
The Giants took a four-point lead Monday night with 53 seconds remaining on the game clock, and again, the 49ers lost.
Coach Kyle Shanahan said there wasn’t any one thing that kept the team from being able to finish against the Giants, but there were quite a few.
“It was a number of plays,” Shanahan said. “Extremely disappointed. I thought we put ourselves in a position that we should have won that game. Up 20-10 after the first drive in the third quarter. Gave up a big kick return right after that, I think, followed by two explosives. Got them right back in it, 20-17.
“I thought we had a chance to step on their throat there, and we didn’t. We let them get back in it fast."
Tight end George Kittle admited the 49ers need to figure out how to finish. He also has confidence that they will.
“Having a lead in the fourth quarter,” Kittle said, “what we were up, 20-10 in the second half? We had multiple opportunities to end it and didn’t. So it’s obviously something that we have to figure out because it’s happened multiple times this season in big games.
“If we don’t figure it out, it’s not going to be a fun season. I think we can figure it out. I love all the guys in the locker room. We have a great locker room, it’s tight. We have great coaches. I love playing for Coach Shanahan. We are going to fix this, and we have the right guys to do it.”
The defense struggled to pressure Giants QB Eli Manning, only sacking him once. Prior to facing the 49ers, Manning had been sacked 31 times in eight games.
Defensive end DeForest Buckner expressed the need for the defense to do its part.
“That’s been the story of the season,” Buckner said. “We have to finish. I know we had some calls in the last drive against the defense, but we still need to find a way to make a play. Anybody. I personally need to make a play and try to get pressure on Eli.
“That’s everybody around on all levels. The [defensive backs], the linebackers, the defense. Everybody has to be held accountable. The defense could’ve won that game for us.”
The 49ers have some time to try to figure out how to finish games. They don’t play again until Nov. 25 when they travel to Tampa Bay to face the Buccaneers.