January 23, 2021
What the 49ers are saying after losing to Washington

What the 49ers are saying after losing to Washington

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The 49ers suffered a deflating 23-15 loss Sunday afternoon against the Washington Football Team, sending them to a 5-8 record and pushing them further down the playoff ladder.

Two Nick Mullens turnovers were returned for Washington touchdowns — a second-quarter sack fumble picked up by rookie defensive end Chase Young and a fourth-quarter interception that rookie safety Kamren Curl returned 76 yards to the end zone.

Add in a Jeff Wilson fumble (caused by Young) that set up a Washington field goal and the 49ers set up 17 points for Washington with their turnovers.

Washington had only one drive that went 30 yards or further and still put up 23 points.

The Niners now must win their remaining three games and receive considerable help elsewhere if they want to make the playoffs and avoid the fate of so many Super Bowl runners-up before them.

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    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) intercepts a pass intended for Washington Football Team wide receiver Cam Sims (89) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Quarterback Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers delivers a pass against the defense of the Washington Football Team in the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Fullback Kyle Juszczyk #44 of the San Francisco 49ers dives into the end zone for a touchdown over cornerback Kendall Fuller #29 of the Washington Football Team in the fourth quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    Washington Football Team strong safety Kamren Curl (31) breaks up a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    The San Francisco 49ers and the Washington Football Team compete during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Richie James #13 of the San Francisco 49ers runs after a reception against cornerback Jimmy Moreland #20 of the Washington Football Team in the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Jason Verrett #22 of the San Francisco 49ers intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Cam Sims #89 of the Washington Football Team during the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    Washington Football Team quarterback Alex Smith (11) throws as San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward (20) pursues during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) is hit by Washington Football Team linebacker Cole Holcomb (55) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) throws his helmet to a trainer after getting injured during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) throws against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    Washington Football Team strong safety Kamren Curl (31) dives into the end zone for a touchdown after an interception against the San Francisco 49ers during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Running back Peyton Barber #34 of the Washington Football Team is tackled by defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw #99 of the San Francisco 49ers on a run in the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers running back Raheem Mostert (31) runs against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) is tackled by Washington Football Team cornerback Jimmy Moreland and free safety Deshazor Everett (22) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) celebrates his fumble recover against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Cornerback Jason Verrett #22 of the San Francisco 49ers intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Cam Sims #89 of the Washington Football Team during the second quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) takes a hit after the throw by Washington Football Team strong safety Kamren Curl (31) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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    San Francisco 49ers middle linebacker Fred Warner (54) leaves the game after an injury against the Washington Football Team during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Tight end Logan Thomas #82 of the Washington Football Team is tackled after a reception by linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair #51 of the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan prior to an NFL football game against the Washington Football Team, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Defensive end Chase Young #99 of the Washington Football Team sacks quarterback Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers during the first quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)

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    Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) breaks up a pass intended for San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Running back Jeff Wilson #30 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates with teammates after rushing for a touchdown in the first quarter of the game against the Washington Football Team at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk (11) runs as WWashington Football Team free safety Deshazor Everett (22) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Kendrick Bourne (84) makes a catch for a first down as Washington Football Team cornerback Kendall Fuller (29) defends during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    San Francisco 49ers cornerback Jason Verrett (22) celebrates his fumble recover against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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    GLENDALE, ARIZONA – DECEMBER 13: Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk #11 of the San Francisco 49ers makes a reception against the free safety Deshazor Everett #22 and inside linebacker Jon Bostic #53 of the Washington Football Team during the first quarter of the game at State Farm Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

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    San Francisco 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens (4) against the Washington Football Team during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

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Here is what the 49ers said after Sunday’s loss:

HEAD COACH KYLE SHANAHAN

On Deebo Samuel’s hamstring:

“It happened the first play and you could tell just talking to him, and I know there’s an MRI tomorrow, but it didn’t look good.”

On if thought of benching Mullens:

“I did (think about it) after the pick-6. It wasn’t all on Nick. We didn’t play good around him either. After the pick-6, I wanted to give C.J. a chance to warm up. He was warming up during the next drive, and during it, Nick made some big third downs and we went down there and scored. After he took us on a scoring drive, I changed my mind.

On how disappointing the pick-6 was:

“Extremely disappointing. The way our defense was playing against that offense, you have a very good chance to win as long as you just don’t turn the ball over. For us turning the ball over three times and them getting 17 points off it, two (touchdowns) without our defense going on the field, it was a borderline backbreaker.”

On if right tackle Mike McGlinchey need to get stronger:

“His weight does fluctuate. He was lighter this year. That’s stuff we will talk about after this season and have an offseason to figure out whatever’s best for him. They have a good defensive line and we got in situations where they could tee off a little bit, which puts a challenge on our whole line. But we obviously have to do better and find a way to avoid that penalty.”

On Mullens starting well, then regressing:

“It’s pretty random. I wouldn’t say because some are scripted and some aren’t. We had to adjust a number of things losing Deebo early. Nick missed a few open throws today where he could do better, but the main thing was just the turnovers. That’s what we’ve got to eliminate and what we haven’t done a good job of this year, especially on offense, and, without a doubt, it starts with me.”

On the impact of losing Deebo Samuel:

“We felt pretty big about Deebo from that first play on. We lost a pretty big element but it’s not why we lost today, with the way our defense played. Deebo would have helped a ton. That wasn’t why we lost. “

On the receivers’ drops:

“We had a bad day with that. It wasn’t one person. It seemed like a number of them. It was a frustrating thing today no matter what happened or kept going – whether it was a bad call or an open guy or a miss throw — We had a number more drops than we usually had and we struggled with big penalties, too.

We were not clean today offensively. Regardless, we would have found a way to win if we didn’t turn the ball over.”

On if it’s his most frustrating season ever:

“Yeah, probably. It’s been different but it’s been different for whole league. So I’m not sitting here trying to throw a pity party. It’s been different for everybody. A combination of things make it unusual. I also know you have no chance and we can play a lot better than what we did today. I’m not taking anything away from Washington. I really respect that team with what Ron’s doing and how they’re playing. But I know we could have played better today.”

On running plans and Jerick McKinnon inactivity:

“We’ve gotten all our backs back and been trying to go with Jeff Wilson and Raheem as our 1-2, and why Tevin hasn’t gotten in much, either. Raheem and Jeff earned that. They’ve been our top guys here, with Tevin not fully back. Jet carried the load for us while those guys were out, which took a toll on him. But he dresses every week because we’ll use him if need be. On third downs, he does some stuff for us. We went with those other guys today. … The difference in the game is when you get that balance, you have to come down with explosive (plays) and we missed too many of them. We did go for them a couple times, it led to a few turnovers, which we couldn’t overcome.”

QUARTERBACK NICK MULLENS

On pick-6 throw:

“I was trying to find my outlet before the defender got there. I’ve got to protect the ball and can’t make that crucial mistake.”

On Juszczyk going down field:

“You’re just trying to make a play to get rid of the ball. It’s just a mishap that happened. But I’ve got to protect the ball and can’t make that type of mistake that changes the game.”

On the fourth-quarter comeback bid:

“You just always answer back. You have to be relentless, resilient and always keep fighting. That’s what I’ll always do, no matter what the situation is.”

On how to stop turnovers:

“Focus on the details. Working during the week. And just taking care of the football. At some point, it has to be done to give this team a chance to win. If you turn the ball over, you’re not going to win and that’s really what it comes down to.”

On struggling after early scripted plays:

“Every game is different but you focus on what you can control. I have to make the routine plays. As an offense we didn’t make the routine plays that keep us on the field.”

On potential benching after pick-6:

“I didn’t know that, we did not discuss that. At that point you’re worried about the game and every time you’re out there, it’s a new opportunity.”

On Washington:

“They’re a good team. If we would have protected the football, we would have won. The guys up front, they’re very talented. You can notice the speed from the start. Made…he’s pretty fast.”

RUNNING BACK RAHEEM MOSTERT 

On his health (possible concussion; ankle aggravation)”

I was just running outside zone and running the ball down hill and got hit. Got a little doozy there but got cleared from the concussion. The ankle and stuff, too. It is what it is. I fought back. I’m feeling good right  now and wanted to keep pressing within the game.”

On offensive woes:

It’s very frustrating. You don’t want to have those turnovers. The defense did an unbelievable job. … The time of possession was in our favor. But when you turn the ball over and give them 17 points right away without the defense having to make a stop other than the field goal, it’s more pressure on us. We have to focus on that in practice this week and minimize turnovers.”

On the team’s outlook in Arizona with a losing record:

“It’s sad that we’re in these circumstances but we gotta look at the glass half full. We have the ability to go out there each week and put it on the line for this organization, this team, and for yourselves. We have to make sure we understand that — this is not a vacation, this is not a retreat. We’re here to get a job done. That’s the end of the discussion.

You don’t have to do too much, with the playoffs right there. You just control what you can control and go out there and give it your all.”

On frustration:

“It’s tough, the whole 2020 been tough, not just for me but everybody. A lot of people have had to make sacrifices.

“We’ve had injuries and have had guys out due to COVID, but we’ve also had guys step up. Last year, we didn’t have COVID but we had injuries and had guys step up, so the mentality doesn’t change. Can’t look at it as this year compared to last year.”

DEFENSIVE TACKLE JAVON KINLAW

On defense picking up offense after turnovers:

“It’s really no frustration. It’s football. Things happen. You’ve got to roll with the punches. Control what you can control and keep rolling.”

On fellow rookie Brandon Aiyuk:

“He’s the man. You see what’s going on. He’s the man. No doubt.”

On defensive group:

“I feel like that should be the mindset every week, that we have our backs against the wall every week. As a whole, we play very aggressive. Fred went down and Azeez did his thing, and Greenlaw do what he always does.”

On coaches’ message:

“Same as every week: win.”

WIDE RECEIVER BRANDON AIYUK

On second-half vibe:

The vibe was to go score. We felt we had everything in front of us and a great opportunity to come back.

On Deebo Samuel’s exit:

Deebo, every game going in, we believe he’s going to have a big game. When he went down, it was just pretty much continue to play. Just continue on what we had planned. Mistakes were the theme again.

On transition to NFL:

“I definitely wouldn’t say it was easy, been through a whole lot of stuff this season. It’s a credit to who we have in this building, with the players and coaches we have.”

On losing Deebo and impact on offense:

“I was on the field and not sure what was going on in the sideline. It was, ‘Our guy went down so let’s pick him up and make plays.’ “

CORNERBACK JASON VERRETT

On defensive mentality:

“Obviously defense wins championship and today the defense played very well. I wish Jimmie got that interception. It would have put us in a good situation to get points on the board.”

On his interception:

“It was a lot of film study we did on the back end and to communicate as much as possible. We knew Alex liked to take certain shots and that was one of the plays I made.”

On Alex Smith’s health and QB change:

“We know Alex is a dink and dunk and take what you can give him.”

On playoff hopes:

“You’ve got to win. We’ve got three left and have to try to find a way to win out.”

DEFENSIVE END KERRY HYDER

On defense’s mentality:

“We just try to do whatever’s needed. We try to do our part and our part is to play the defense.”

On rallying after turnovers:

“We had our offense’s back, no matter the situation. When

On mentality with no playoff hope:

“Be professionals. Every time we’re out there, it’s about giving our best effort. No matter what the circumstances are, we’re going to finish strong.”

CORNERBACK RICHARD SHERMAN

On the defensive mentality:

“That’s the way we’re built. We didn’t do enough tonight, create enough turnovers, enough disruption.”

On the comeback though process:

“We believed we were going to win the whole time. Right before the half, they tackled KB and the officials saw it but didn’t call P.I. because they said the ball wasn’t thrown. Unfortunate things. Jimmie controlled it and didn’t use the ground to control it. At the end of the day, that should have been a turnover. When things don’t go you way, you can’t complain, you can’t make excuses, you’ve just got to keep playing hard. It’s just unfortunate because Jimmie’s having a heck of a season and that would have been a huge play.”

On whether this is a frustrating season:

“It’s not frustrating. It’s unfortunate. You can’t control injuries. You can control your attitude and your effort. That’s what we’re bringing every week.

On Alex Smith:

“We were just trying to contain him and give our offense the ball in a great position.”

LEFT TACKLE TRENT WILLIAMS

On turnovers:

“Teams are too good to win when you’re giving them the ball. … It’s impossible to win when the defense is scoring points for their offense. It’s disappointing.”

On his impressions of Chase Young:

“Chase Young’s going to be a heck of a player. He’s still young. The scary thing is he’s going to get extremely better. For offensive tackles, that’s extremely scary. He’s a heck of a player. The edges they have are going to be good for a long time.”

On turnovers:

“We won’t beat anybody on our schedule giving the ball away like we did these last few games. All we can do is control these last three games, win each of them and see where that gets us.”

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Author: Michael Nowels, Cam Inman

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