Shana­han off to rough start

49ers coach one of only five to be­gin ten­ure with back-to-back 2-10 starts to the NFL sea­son

The Sun Times (Owen Sound) - - SPORTS - JOSH DUBOW

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Kyle Shana­han’s coach­ing ten­ure hasn’t quite got­ten off to the great­est start in San Fran­cisco.

He lost his first nine games with the 49ers last year be­fore the ar­rival of Jimmy Garop­polo pro­vided a late-sea­son spark with five straight wins to close a 6-10 cam­paign.

With Garop­polo side­lined by a sea­son-end­ing knee in­jury in Week 3 this year, the Nin­ers have started the sea­son 2-10 for the sec­ond straight year un­der Shana­han.

Shana­han is just the fifth coach to be­gin his ten­ure with a team by go­ing 2-10 or worse in each of his first two sea­sons. Cleve­land’s Hue Jack­son (2016-17), Detroit’s Jim Schwartz (2009-10), Tampa Bay’s Lee­man Ben­nett (1985-86) and Tampa’s John McKay (197677) are the oth­ers.

Ben­nett got fired after his sec­ond sea­son and Jack­son didn’t make it through his third with the Browns. Schwartz and McKay stayed long enough to lead their teams into the play­offs, progress Shana­han hopes to be able to make with the 49ers.

“I’d love it to be a lot more ob­vi­ous and a lot eas­ier,” he said. “We fin­ished 6-10 last year and I’d love to be im­prov­ing from this year. I also know it was hard work to get to 6-10, es­pe­cially start­ing 0-9. I think we came in this year with a fran­chise quar­ter­back and we lost him early in the sea­son, which def­i­nitely makes that much harder.

“I think we came here know­ing that it was go­ing to take some time. I think the way we fin­ished last year def­i­nitely ex­cels every­one’s feel­ing and what they thought. But, by no means did I think we were com­ing into it this year and it was just go­ing to be easy. I knew it was go­ing to be ex­tremely hard.”

Here’s a look in­side some more in­ter­est­ing num­bers head­ing into Week 13:

Elite com­pany

Todd Gur­ley of the Rams finds him­self in ex­clu­sive com­pany. He has gained 1,649 yards from scrim­mage and scored 19 TDs so far this sea­son. Only six play­ers have topped those marks in the first 12 games, in­clud­ing Hall of Famers LaDainian Tom­lin­son (2006), Em­mitt Smith (1995), Eric Dick­er­son (1983), O.J. Simp­son (1975), Jim Brown (1965). Priest Holmes is the other, do­ing it in 2002.

Touch­down Tom

Tom Brady’s next touch­down pass will move him past a cou­ple of all-time greats. Brady is cur­rently tied with Brett Favre for third place for the most reg­u­lar-sea­son TD passes with 508. Brady is also tied with Pey­ton Man­ning for the most ever com­bined in the reg­u­lar sea­son and play­offs with 579.

Pro­filic Pat

Kansas City’s Pa­trick Ma­homes is join­ing some spe­cial com­pany in his first sea­son as a start­ing quar­ter­back. He joined Brady and Man­ning as the only play­ers to throw at least 40 TD passes in the first 12 games of the sea­son. Man­ning and Brady each won the MVP in the sea­sons they ac­com­plished the feat.

Ma­homes also just had his sev­enth game of the sea­son with at least four TD passes, a mark topped only by Man­ning when he had nine in the 2013 sea­son.

Dou­ble threat

Gi­ants re­ceiver Odell Beck­ham Jr. is prov­ing to be al­most as adept throw­ing TD passes as he is catch­ing them. Beck­ham threw a 49-yard TD pass and caught a 1-yarder against Chicago last week, the sec­ond time this sea­son he has caught and thrown for a TD pass in the same game. The only other time some­one did that twice in a sea­son was 1924, when Ed­die Kaw and Benny Boyn­ton did it for the Buf­falo Bisons.

Beck­ham also threw a 57-yard TD this sea­son and has as many TD passes of at least 49 yards as Tom Brady, Drew Brees, An­drew Luck and Jared Goff this sea­son.

Dou­ble threat Part 2

Carolina’s Chris­tian McCaf­frey had 55 yards re­ceiv­ing and 106 yards rush­ing last week in a loss to Tampa Bay. That marked his fifth straight game with at least 50 yards on the ground and as a re­ceiver, the long­est streak in NFL his­tory.

No take­aways

The 49ers have gone four straight games with­out gen­er­at­ing a take­away, one shy of the post-merger record ac­com­plished eight times pre­vi­ously, in­clud­ing the Jets this sea­son. San Fran­cisco has just five take­aways through 12 games, the fewest since the merger after 12 games. The pre­vi­ous low was seven for Jack­sonville in 2016.

Rare blown lead

Steel­ers fans could be for­given for feel­ing pretty con­fi­dent with a 23-7 half­time lead last week against the Charg­ers. Pitts­burgh had been 174-0-1 all-time at home when lead­ing a game by 16 points. The Steel­ers had lost only two road games when lead­ing by at least 14 at half­time, blow­ing a 21-7 lead to Dan Marino and the Dol­phins on Nov. 1, 1987, and a 20-3 lead to the St. Louis Car­di­nals on Oct. 13, 1963. Jackie Smith caught a 55-yard TD pass in that come­back for St. Louis. Smith would be re­mem­bered more for an­other play against the Steel­ers — a dropped TD pass for Dal­las in his fi­nal ca­reer game in the Su­per Bowl in 1979.

High-scor­ing losses

The Raiders and Steel­ers be­came the lat­est teams to end up on the los­ing end of a game when scor­ing at least 30 points. In all, 20 teams have lost this sea­son de­spite that high point to­tal, one short of the post-merger record for a sea­son set in 2013. At­lanta, In­di­anapo­lis, Kansas City, Pitts­burgh, Seat­tle and Tampa Bay all have two losses when scor­ing 30 or more points.

Triple crown

Oak­land spent a fifth-round pick on punter Johnny Townsend, one of just 20 pun­ters taken in the first five rounds this cen­tury. The move isn’t pay­ing div­i­dends as Townsend is on pace for a notso-spec­tac­u­lar Triple Crown. He ranks last among all qual­i­fy­ing pun­ters in gross av­er­age (43 yards), net av­er­age (37.4 yards) and per­cent­age of punts downed in­side the 20 (19.6 per cent).

JOHN FROSCHAUER/AP

San Fran­cisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shana­han talks to re­porters fol­low­ing a loss to the Seat­tle Sea­hawks on Sun­day. Shana­han has started his first two sea­sons with the team with a 2-10 record.

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