Head Coach Kyle Shanahan Postgame Press Conference

49ers Head Coach Kyle Shanahan

Press Conference – December 7, 2020

San Francisco 49ers vs. Buffalo Bills


Opening comments:

“All right guys, injuries we had from the game: [DL] D.J. Jones had an ankle, didn’t return. [OL Tom] Compton had a head, being evaluated for a concussion, did not return. And that’s all we had.”

For a lot of the game, it looked like it was very easy out there for Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen. The question will come up, why not blitz him more? Why not put more pressure on him? What was sort of the thinking about the style of defense that you guys played today?

“Obviously, it didn’t work out well. I know that we did blitz sometimes. When I get back to our hotel here in a second, I’ll find out how much, but when we did blitz, he got away from it and made some big plays with some receivers running across the field. When we didn’t, he just dinked and dunked it and got after us, too. Our defense has been, I think, carrying us all year and has played really good this year. They had a big challenge today. We didn’t play our best on D. That’s why we had to on offense and special teams and it was going to be one of those type games that was going to be a shootout and we missed a few. I think we had a chance to do it on offense, make this game similar to how New Orleans was last year. That’s kind of the game that I thought was being dictated. They held onto the ball for a while. I thought when we had that drop on third down, we lost a little momentum, didn’t get to touch it much and just got away from us.”

What stings you the most about how you guys played offensively?

“Just that we needed to play our best and I think that we were very close to doing it. We just had a few things that didn’t keep us out on the field and when you do that versus an offense and a quarterback like that who’s playing the way they are and you don’t get it back for a while, the game gets away from you. I think we needed to keep matching them and it was frustrating because I believe, not taking anything away from them, they did an awesome job, but I believe that we were capable of that. We had our times, which I think you saw at times, but we had to do it every time today and we didn’t get that done.”

Obviously, you can’t measure it, but do you think your situation being there, the relocation, had anything to do with the way things went tonight?

“No, absolutely zero. Nothing to do with it all tonight.”

What’s your assessment of QB Nick Mullens’ performance thus far?

“I thought he made some plays. You could see there at the end he made some plays. He can’t make those turnovers that he had, can’t have that false start that he had there at the inch yard line, but I thought he gave us a chance. With the way the whole team played altogether, he did need to play better because I think we had to play perfect in a few areas and by no means do I think he played perfect, but there’s still stuff to improve on, but there were some good and bad things he did today.”

What was your message to the team afterwards, particularly given what the loss did to your potential playoff hopes?

“Really just, we’ve got four more games that we can account for that we’re in charge of and we’ve got to win all of them. I felt going into this game that, starting with the Rams, and I felt like this game was a playoff game for us. Then when you lose it, you just leave stuff up to other people. I know with our team right now, the only thing that we can count on and control is making sure we win the rest of these and that starts versus Washington next week. We’ve got a short week. I just want the guys to get back to this hotel. Don’t plan on seeing any of them tomorrow. Coaches are going to get together and we’re going to get ready for Washington, have the guys rehab. They still left a lot out there tonight, physically and everything. So, hopefully spend tomorrow right and when they see us on Wednesday, we’re coming ready to go versus Washington. It starts with the first game, but we know we’ve got to win all of these. So, we’ve got to focus on Washington and get that done and then look to the next week.”

I know you’ve been dealing with it without DL Dee Ford and DL Nick Bosa for most of the year, but how difficult does it make it for your defense in a game when you can’t get much pressure with just the front four?

“Extremely difficult. That’s what we were built for and going into the season on, but that changed pretty early. I think we’ve done a great job adjusting and plenty of guys have been coming in and out and I think our guys have done an unbelievable job on defense this year. Coaches and players. So, I’m extremely proud of those guys for this year and how it’s gone so far and I expect us to finish strong these next four games, but today wasn’t our best day. We had a huge challenge. It’s a very good team altogether, very good coaches, very good offense, very good quarterback. We knew all week we had a big challenge and there’s a few mistakes we made that made it a lot easier for them, stuff we can do better, but this was, I think, a night where we had to really step it up on O and we didn’t do that enough.”

WR Deebo Samuel, he only had one carry for three yards up until the late third quarter. Why do you think you guys had such a hard time getting him involved until late?

“I think it was real tough in the first half with anyone. We went on that one long drive, which, I think we had like two passes or something on that first drive, but all runs. It was really important to us tonight to establish the run to start the game out to get that going. So, we didn’t have a ton of passes in the first half and the ones that we called for him, we didn’t get those coverages and they controlled the ball very well. So, we didn’t have the number of plays either. Tried to, but we weren’t out there long enough. Eventually we got it to him. I thought he did a good job in the plays we tried and got to him on, but when we didn’t score there on the end and they returned that, then it kind of ended right there.”

I realize you’re focused more on your defense, but what was striking about Josh Allen to see him in person? What does he do well that jumps out at you?

“No different than what you see on tape. He’s been doing it all year. He’s big, can run, has a big arm, plays the position well, got a good scheme and he’s got some good people around him.”

A couple of injury questions. Is there any indication what type of ankle injury D.J. Jones has? And then during the telecast, ESPN reporter Lisa Salters said that she spoke with general manager John Lynch and that QB Jimmy Garoppolo and TE George Kittle had good workouts, promising workouts late this week. Does that improve their timeline at all as far as when they can come back?

“No, that’s just him answering a question probably. I mean, those guys are working their tails off right now, but they’re still part of the rehab, just trying to get back and be a part of this, but it’s not anytime soon right now.”

D.J. Jones, what type of ankle injury?

“He didn’t come back and they’re worried it possibly could be a high ankle. So, that’s what we’ve got to look into. Obviously, we’re hoping it’s not.”