"That's as cool of a win as I've ever been a part of."
It wasn't pretty, but the 49ers got the job done Sunday, defeating the visiting Steelers 24-20 to improve to 3-0 on the young season. In the locker room following the win, San Francisco head coach Kyle Shanahan greeted his boisterous team, and reminded the 49ers of what they had just accomplished.
"It was what we thought. We knew we would get their best," Shanahan shouted, "but we got different character this year, man."
He specifically credited the defense for holding Pittsburgh to just two field goals in the first half despite four turnovers by the offense.
"When you have five turnovers like that, it is hard to win in this league. You have to be good players, but you also have special people. You guys didn't waiver the whole game. Can't appreciate you guys enough for that."
Shanahan then issued his team a challenge: "How much better can we get, though?
"We can get better. We can get a lot better, men," he answered as the locker room reverberated in agreement.
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Shanahan proceeded to lay out the upcoming practice schedule, as the 49ers now enter their bye week. A perfect time to get better.
Is your quarterback elite? Well, if you're a fan of the 49ers then no -- at least according to Chris Simms.
The NBC Sports football analyst couldn't confidently put Jimmy Garoppolo in the elite category, but still had plenty of praise toward him, especially knowing he plans on leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl.
"I think there's some quarterbacks in football right now: Russell Wilson, Aaron Rodgers, DeShaun Watson, Patrick Mahomes -- they kind of stand alone," Simms said.
After that handful of quarterbacks, Simms highlights a group of "good," a squad that he considers Jimmy G to be a part of. Plus, Garoppolo has a lot of "good" surrounding him.
The elite talents of tight end George Kittle are something that shouldn't be argued -- unless you're not sure if he's a decent blocker or not. Ahem, Doug Gottlieb.
"That's all you need to win a Super Bowl," Simms added.
The consensus around Jimmy G's eliteness is that he's not elite, but he's not bad, but he's good enough.
[RELATED: NFC offensive consultant on Jimmy G's eliteness]
Got all of that?
His throwing abilities have been talked about, but once again the word "elite" was not mentioned.
A lot of times for athletes, it's not up to them whether or not they want to retire -- it's up to their body. For 49ers tackle Joe Staley, it's really no different.
"I like to think that I can continue to play football for as long as they'll have me," Staley said in an interview with 95.7 The Game on Thursday. "And that's my mindset. I've never thought about when an end is going to be."
The 35-year-old signed a two-year contract extension with San Francisco in June which ultimately means he could spend the entirety of his NFL career as a member of the 49ers. And while that seems like a long time, he's still soaking up the everyday grind of his job even with the setbacks he's faced this season.
"The challenges of this season have been different than seasons past," he said. "I love the adverse situations and you kind of learn a lot about yourself -- how you respond and challenge yourself daily with different goals ... "
Staley sustained a fractured left fibula earlier in the season during the Week 2 matchup against the Bengals and with a smile tried to remain positive but admitted: "it sucks." He was emotional after the injury but said that had a lot to do with how special the team was and the guys he was surrounded by.
Still, you can't fake the passion the six-time Pro Bowler brings to the 49ers and it appears you would have to pry the game away from his hands if you anticipate him hanging up his cleats any time soon.
[RELATED: How Jimmy G can enter record books in 49ers-Falcons]
"That love for the game is still there, burning," Staley said.
He finished the statement saying he doesn't have an honest answer as to just how much football is left in his body, but it's not something he's concentrating on at the moment.