Kyle Shanahan

Kyle Shanahan noncommittal on 49ers’ starting QB after loss to Giants

Kyle Shanahan noncommittal on 49ers’ starting QB after loss to Giants

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers have some time to determine who will start at quarterback after their Week 11 bye, but the likely choice still is Nick Mullens. 

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was brief when discussing who would be under center after the break, but he did initially say Mullens would get the nod for a third start.

“I’m sure,” Shanahan said, “but I haven’t thought about it yet.”

Mullens’ second start wasn’t nearly as impressive as his first, but he still remained cool under pressure. He completed 27 of his 39 passes for 250 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately, he also gets credit for throwing two interceptions, which gave him a passer rating of 73.7. 

Shanahan said that even while facing the adversity of throwing interceptions, Mullens stayed steady.

“He was the same,” Shanahan said. “He had one early. Didn’t change. Didn’t get gun shy. Played his game. I don’t think the picks affected him. He played his game.”

While Mullens might get a third start, Shanahan has been vocal about not having given up on C.J. Beathard. There likely will be a point in the remainder of the season where he is back on the field leading the 49ers’ offense. 

Earlier in the week, Shanahan spoke about giving Beathard a chance to get healthy. 

“I think C.J. started off well, and I think he went through a tough stretch,” Shanahan said. “I think it is good for him to sit back and get fully healthy and heal up and watch someone else do it. He’s only a play away from getting in. So, he’ll be ready.”

The day before Mullens made his NFL debut against the Raiders, Shanahan maintained that a healthy Beathard clearly was the best quarterback on the 49ers' 53-man roster.

“As I’ve said,” Shanahan said, “and I still firmly believe, if C.J. is healthy, he does give us the best chance to win. We just got to see if he’s going to be healthy.”

Shahanan also has said, more than once, that his decision on who starts at quarterback will be made on a week-to-week basis. 

The 49ers have the week off before they begin preparations to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, Nov. 25. 

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 irked by Ahkello Witherspoon showing frustration after Giants TD

49ers irked by Ahkello Witherspoon showing frustration after Giants TD

SANTA CLARA -- Ahkello Witherspoon was the nearest 49ers player in coverage on a third-quarter touchdown pass to Odell Beckham that sparked the New York Giants' comeback Monday night.

And following the 49ers' 27-23 loss at Levi's Stadium, coach Kyle Shanahan expressed his disappointment in Witherspoon -- not for allowing the touchdown but for the cornerback's reaction after it.

Shanahan said Witherspoon expected help from the safety on the play. Immediately after Beckham’s TD catch, Witherspoon looked toward teammate Antone Exum and threw his hands into the air.

“Man up,” Shanahan said when asked about Witherspoon’s display of emotions. “Don’t put that on tape. We’ll deal with that when we come in.”

Veteran cornerback Richard Sherman said Witherspoon did his part on the 20-yard TD pass from quarterback Eli Manning to Beckham. Sherman blamed the score on a coverage bust in which the 49ers didn't have the correct personnel on the field.

But Sherman also said Witherspoon shouldn't have shown up his teammate on the field.

“You should never do that,” Sherman said. “That's like a cardinal rule of football. You're expecting guys to be where they're supposed to be and, unfortunately, we didn't get the personnel that we needed to on the field.”

Witherspoon denied he was upset with Exum. When asked if he expected safety help on the play, Witherspoon said, “I was expecting the ball not to be completed, and it was completed, and I was upset about it."

He added: “I was just mad at myself for allowing a touchdown. Can’t do that.”

[RELATED: OBJ-Goodwin pregame dance-off lights up Levi's Stadium]

Witherspoon said nobody had yet spoken to him about his reaction in the immediate aftermath of the play that cut the 49ers’ lead to 20-17 in the third quarter.

“No, but I understand that,” Witherspoon said. “I know that, playing corner, I know I got to be better than that, and it’s something I got to improve on.”

Witherspoon found himself in the middle of another important play in the fourth quarter. He was called for a 16-yard pass-interference penalty against Beckham on a second-and-20 play during the Giants' game-winning drive.

When asked if he disagreed with the call, Witherspoon answered, "I did, but I also disagree with me not turning my head because I could’ve had an opportunity for an interception on that play."

It has been a difficult second season for Witherspoon, a 2017 third-round draft pick out of Colorado. He started and played well in nine starts as a rookie, but he has struggled at times this season and was benched for two starts.

Witherspoon said he has no regrets. He said this season -- ups and downs -- is all part of his journey.

"The season has been a blessing," Witherspoon said. “Every opportunity I have to play this game is an incredible opportunity for me. I’m appreciative of every single second of it. The season can’t go better than this because it’s all in God’s plan and I’m on His path and I’m doing it firmly and as a believer, so I have no complaints."