49ers sick of inability to finish after blowing late lead vs. Giants

49ers sick of inability to finish after blowing late lead vs. Giants

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.

[RELATED: 49ers irked by Ahkello Witherspoon showing frustration after Giants TD]

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.

[RELATED: Donte Whitner criticizes Marquise Goodwin's dance-off with OBJ]

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.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan loose and relaxed during press conference


49ers coach Kyle Shanahan loose and relaxed during press conference

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan brought his A-material to his press conference on Wednesday afternoon inside Levi’s Stadium.

The coach of the unbeaten 49ers covered a myriad of topics after pacing his club through the first practice of the week in preparation to face Washington on Sunday at 10 a.m.

Shanahan drew big laughs early in his press conference when he was asked about the good and the bad of serving as offensive coordinator in Washington during four seasons in which his father, Mike, was the head coach before getting fired.

Here’s a rundown of Shanahan’s comic moments:

A little good, a lot bad

What was the best part of his time working as an assistant coach (2010 to ’13) with Washington?

“Being able to work with my dad and being around some other good coaches,” Shanahan answered.

What was the worst part?

“Everything else.”

On blackout moment from Saleh, Sherman

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh received national attention for fist-pumping moment on the sideline during the 49ers’ goal-line stand at the end of the first half against the Rams. Saleh later said he blacked out in that high-intensity moment.

Shanahan said many folks have made him aware of Saleh’s reaction, which was captured on the TV broadcast.

“I’ve been sent all the memes and everything,” Shanahan said. “It’s what I expect. I mess with him all the time. That’s his style. He has a cleanly shaven head every single day he talks to you guys. (He's) very tan and lifts (weights) a lot. He knows what he’s doing. He enjoys game day, too.”

When asked if ever blacks out on the sideline, Shanahan said he does – but it’s usually directed at an official.

“People can tell on my face when I do, and sometimes I get fined for it, so you try not to black out as a coach,” Shanahan said.

“Players do it, too. I mess with (Richard) Sherman. I think he’s done it at the coin toss the last couple weeks.”

Sherman apologized last week to Baker Mayfield after originally saying the Cleveland quarterback did not shake his hand at the pregame handshake. Video later surfaced that showed the two, in fact, shook hands.

Shanahan compares Saleh to Gandi

The intensity and enthusiasm Saleh shows on the sideline during games is what he’s like the other six days of the week. In fact, Shanahan said Saleh reminds him of Gandi.

“Saleh is a peaceful giant. Saleh is very relaxed and peaceful. He’s not like that very much. That’s rare,” Shanahan said. “He’s not a guy who’s going to mess with anyone. He’s a very good teacher. He speaks to everyone with a lot of regard, a lot of respect. But it’s cool to see him like that because he’s not always like that.”

However, Shanahan was reminded that Saleh also stressed the need for “extreme violence” from his defensive players. Saleh wears has a rubber wristband with those words inscribed.

“He knows what it takes,” Shanahan said of the phrase that preached violence on the football field. “He just wears a bracelet. It’s not like it’s tatted on his face or anything.”

Saleh had his own press conference after the 49ers’ win over the Rams. Shanahan received credit for signing off on that, which is a rare occurrence for a coordinator after a game. When asked why he did it, Shanahan said it was the idea of 49ers vice president of communications Bob Lange.

“Just because Bob asked me when I was walking into the shower, and it seemed like it made sense,” he said.

Matt Breida likes 49ers' chances if they face Patriots in Super Bowl

Matt Breida likes 49ers' chances if they face Patriots in Super Bowl

The 49ers are 5-0. Let that sink in.

They stand with only the New England Patriots (6-0) as the two undefeated teams in the NFL right now, and 49ers running back Matt Breida sees a win if the two teams were to ever matchup.

"I feel like I like our chances," Breida said in an interview on NFL Total Access Tuesday night. "We have a great team, great special teams, offense, defense, and everyone's playing at high energy right now. So we'll just have to wait and see."

A great team indeed. 

The team's defense has been showing off lately and improved since last season in the major defensive categories including almost slashing the passer rating allowed in half from 105.4 last season to 62.5 this time around. Breida himself in the NFL Network interview said it's the best it's been since he's been there. 

[RELATED: Breida praises 49ers defense being mic'd up]

Offensively it's no different with the 49ers ranking 4th in the league in total yards per game (408) and second in rush yards per game (179.8). So far this season, Breida has tallied 376 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry.

The two teams aren't scheduled to face one another in the regular season, but perhaps we'll see the two square off in February in Miami?