After releasing an injury list of more than 22 key players earlier this week, Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers couldn’t have had very high hopes for Thursday night’s matchup with Green Bay. Those low expectations were certainly realized as San Francisco fell to the Packers 34-17.
The 49ers knew they’d be missing Jimmy Garoppolo, George Kittle, Raheem Mostert and Deebo Samuel all week, but the team was struck with even more bad news on Wednesday. Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne tested positive for COVID-19 and was ruled out for Thursday’s contest. Fellow wideout Brandon Aiyuk was also sidelined as a close contact, even furthering the hit to the receiving corps. While the test was later deemed a likely false positive, Bourne and his contacts were still held out of the game.
Shanahan highlighted the team’s struggles in a postgame interview.
“We knew it was going to be a challenge,” Shanahan said. “We knew at the start of the week it was going to be a challenge and then losing those three guys yesterday was obviously a bigger challenge, but I still thought we could have a game and still thought we could play better than we did tonight. Being down like that and not being at our best and going against a good team like that, usually that’s usually what happens, but I know we could have done better.”
Though it may look like a respectable loss for a team missing so many offensive weapons, the score doesn’t indicate how lopsided the game really was. Through the first three quarters the Packers led 31-3. The 49ers scored 14 points in the fourth frame, only after Green Bay pulled their starters. The late scores included a garbage time touchdown by running back Jerick McKinnon in the closing seconds.
San Francisco will return some players next week coming off of the COVID-19 and injury lists, but their offensive core in Garoppolo, Kittle, Mostert and Samuel will likely still be sidelined. With this loss to the Packers, the 49ers drop to 4-5 on the season.
Shanahan and his team will take on a tough 5-2 Saints team Sunday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.