49ers

Kyle Shanahan wants 49ers receivers to visualize dropping passes

Kyle Shanahan wants 49ers receivers to visualize dropping passes

SANTA CLARA – Coach Kyle Shanahan wants his receivers to remember what it’s like to drop a pass.

He actually wants them during the course of the week to visualize dropping passes.

“Don’t sit there and just picture everything is going to go perfect this week,” Shanahan said. “Picture yourself having another drop again. Know how bad that feels and then think of how you’re going to react to that because if you go out there being, ‘Man I’ve got to be perfect this week and I have another drop,’ you’re going to go into a shell the rest of the game, and we’re going to need you.”

The 49ers had a number of dropped passes on Monday night in the team’s 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. Depending on the varying degrees of dropped passes, the 49ers failed to latch onto anywhere from five to nine catchable throws from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Young receiver Kendrick Bourne had four receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. He also had a two-point conversion catch in the fourth quarter. But Bourne had two critical drops – one of which turned into an interception and the other would have resulted in a first down inside the Seattle 10-yard line in the fourth quarter.

Injured linebacker Kwon Alexander consoled Bourne in the locker room following the game.

“Why are you thinking about the ones you dropped?” he asked. “Why aren’t you thinking about the ones you caught?”

Bourne said what bothered him the most was how important his drops were at the time in which they occurred.

“I feel what you’re saying, bro,” Bourne said of Alexander’s support. “But the impact of those plays was what was getting at me.

“Both of them almost got picked the same way. That’s what was really chewing at me. If it was just a drop, I probably wouldn’t have been that upset. But the momentum, the playing coming at me, just knowing what the result could’ve been, that’s why it’s hard for me.”

Shanahan’s point in advising the team’s receivers to think about dropped passes is to prepare them to quickly move past the disappointment so that one bad play does not lead to another and another.

“People do have drops,” Shanahan said. “We have good receivers who don’t drop it a ton. In terms of drops, they had a bad game last week and you’ve got to go out there and not think about that. Every game is a new week.

”I know the first one, if you do have a first one in this game, it’ll be huge and everyone will think about last week, but that will affect how you play. You can’t worry about that stuff. Our guys have good hands. You can’t let one drop lead to another. You’ve got to go out there and be mentally very strong with it.”

[RELATED: Five 49ers to watch in Week 11: Jimmy Garoppolo must step up vs. Cardinals]

Shanahan believes Bourne’s hands are as good as any receiver in the league. Where Bourne struggles, he said, is when he is wide open and begins to think about what he’s going to do after the catch.

“When I’m that open, I tend to not focus on the ball, because I know I’m going to catch it,” Bourne said. “That’s why I’m glad it happened to me now, because now when I get out there, I’ll look it in when I’m wide open. Those are the hardest ones, when I’m wide open. That on me, not being locked in on catching the ball and being too confident.”

Bourne said he believes the drops that happened on Monday can serve as a helpful reminder for him to avoid such mistakes later in the season when the importance of the games magnifies.

“It’s a reminder and it’s humbling,” he said.

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after win vs. Saints

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USATSI

NFL playoff picture: Where 49ers stand in NFC after win vs. Saints

The 49ers avoided their first losing streak of the season Sunday, and (briefly) regained control of the NFC's top seed. 

San Francisco improved to 11-2, dropping the New Orleans Saints to 10-3 in a nail-biting, 48-46 win at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The 49ers moved back into the NFC's No. 1 seed, and they could hang on to it if the Seattle Seahawks lose to the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday night. 

A Seahawks win at the LA Coliseum would drop the 49ers back into the No. 5 seed, but San Francisco would still be on a path towards earning home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs. Though the Seahawks currently hold the tiebreaker, the 49ers could win the NFC West -- and, likely, the NFC's top seed -- if they win in Seattle in Week 17 and hold a tiebreaker over the Seahawks. 

Those can get complicated, with records against the division, common opponents and/or conference possibly taken account into account. The 49ers have a win over the Saints while the Seahawks do not, but it'd still be easier for the 49ers to root for the Seahawks to slip up before a must-win Week 17. 

[RELATED: 49ers center Richburg carted off vs. Saints with injury]

Here's what the NFC playoff picture looks like following the conclusion of the 1 p,m. ET/10 a.m. PT games.

  1. San Francisco 49ers (11-2)
  2. Green Bay Packers (10-3)
  3. New Orleans Saints (10-3)
  4. Dallas Cowboys (6-7)
  5. Seattle Seahawks (10-2)
  6. Minnesota Vikings (9-4)

Watch George Kittle set up 49ers' win vs. Saints with huge catch and run

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AP

Watch George Kittle set up 49ers' win vs. Saints with huge catch and run

The Game of the Year ended with Robbie Gould nailing a 30-yard field goal to give the 49ers a wild 48-46 road win over the Saints on Sunday, but that never could have happened if it wasn't for tight end George Kittle. 

Facing a 4th-and-2 with 39 seconds left as the 49ers trailed the Saints, 46-45, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo found Kittle on a quick out route, and the star tight end went to work. Kittle raced down the sidelines for a 39-yard gain as he was churning along with a Saints defender holding onto Kittle's facemask. 

A 15-yard penalty took the 49ers to the 13-yard line. 

After a 3-yard run by running back Raheem Mostert and Jimmy G taking a knee, Gould booted the ball right through the uprights for one huge victory. The 11-2 49ers now hold the top seed in the NFC playoff picture.

[RELATED: Where 49ers stand in playoff picture after win vs. Saints]

Kittle finished the day with six receptions on eight targets for 67 yards and one touchdown. His biggest catch, however, set up a field goal that had the Faithful going crazy in the Big Easy.