Kyle Shanahan off to rough start as 49ers coach
By JOSH DUBOW
AP Pro Football Writer
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - 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 (1976-77) 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.
PROLIFIC 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 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 II: 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 not-so-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 percent).
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