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Shanahan explains why the 49ers struggled in the red zone

As a former University of Texas receiver always looking for ways to get a quarterback’s attention, when 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan learned that wide receiver Marquise Goodwin gave up his front row seat on the team bus for Jimmy Garoppolo, Shanahan said, “That was nice of him. Smart. Receivers should try to get quarterbacks to like them,” Shanahan said.

Shanahan had plenty of good things to say about his new quarterback after Garoppolo led his team on five scoring drives to beat the Bears in Chicago Sunday. He also said he looks forward to getting good film on Garoppolo that they can study together over the last four games of the season.

Shanahan, however, was also asked about turning those five field goals against the Bears into touchdowns during his Monday afternoon press conference. Shanahan noted the team was inside the 10-yard line three times on Sunday, including one at the end of the game to set up the game-winning field goal.

“The tighter it gets the more precise you have to be,” Shanahan said of red-zone play. The main issue was penalties and frankly bad luck.

On Garoppolo’s opening drive, the 49ers reached second-and-goal from the Bears’ 9, and right tackle Trent Brown was called for holding, that was a highly questionable penalty. The flag reversed the 49ers back to the 19-yard line and eventually, former Bear Robbie Gould was summoned for a 33-yard field goal.

In the second quarter, the 49ers had a second-and-7 from the 13, and receiver Louis Murphy juggled a first-down reception that was ruled incomplete. Shanahan challenged but there wasn’t a good replay to prove Murphy had caught it and the 49ers once again settled for a field goal.

Shanahan said he did believe Murphy when he told him he made the reception.

At the end of the third quarter, another potential touchdown drive was foiled when rookie tight end George Kittle and wide receiver Marquise Goodwin were called for consecutive false start penalties after the 49ers achieved a second-and-1 from the Bears’ 7.

Shanahan also admitted to confusion on passing routes inside the red zone.

“I’m surprised it didn’t happen more,” he said because of Garoppolo’s inexperience.

Nevertheless, what Shanahan liked most was the team’s ability to ignore the score and play through adversity.

“I felt we played the same way we did on the first play as we did the last play,” Shanahan said. “I didn’t feel we did in Seattle the week before. I felt like we struggled in the first half and I felt that affected how we played in the second half.”

Shanahan said players were able to overcome the frustrations in the red zone, the costly penalties and a 61-yard punt return that was allowed for a touchdown.

“I felt like nothing phased (the team) and I felt like that’s why we were able to stop on defense and go on a long drive on offense (to win the game),” Shanahan said. “You have to learn how to win, and I think stuff like that helps you learn how to do it.”


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