The 49ers' 2021 NFL season has been rather inconsistent thus far.
Back-to-back wins in Week 1 and Week 2 were followed by three straight losses to the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Arizona Cardinals. All three of those games could have resulted in wins for San Francisco, but inconsistencies on offense and defense stood in the way.
With plenty of talent up and down the roster, the 49ers aren't playing up to expectations, and their mediocre 2-3 record heading into their Week 7 matchup against the Indianapolis Colts has fans frustrated.
So, who's to blame?
Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice explained to NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Laura Britt on the "49ers Talk" podcast why he believes coach Kyle Shanahan does not deserve all of the blame for his team's poor performance in recent weeks.
"We got to take this under consideration because this team went to the Super Bowl," Rice said. "But then, you come back and the expectations are so much higher. You have to be willing to take the criticism, along with everybody giving you compliments. That's just part of the game.
"You're going to have some fans feel like Kyle Shanahan is not making the right calls, but I think the thing is, until those players take over the team, get their identity and stuff like that, they're going to struggle. Players have to step in and go, 'Look, we have to go out and win football games.' So, as professional players, that's just what you sign up for.
"I don't put the blame just on Kyle Shanahan. I think everybody has to look at each other and you have to challenge each other and say, 'Hey, look, we got to do whatever we have to do to win football games. If a coach [calls a play] that we don't like, we still got to make that play work, no matter what.' If they get to that mindset, I feel like they have a legitimate chance."
Shanahan's play-calling, decision-making and personnel changes recently have come into question, and the fifth-year head coach has received some blame amongst the fan base.
Whether or not that blame is warranted, Rice believes everyone -- from the players to the coaching staff -- needs to hold one another accountable.
Editor's note: Rice appeared on behalf of Quaker, which is asking people to participate in the “Quaker Good Call Challenge." The challenge encourages people to join the fight against hunger by following three simple steps.
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