There are two ways to look at the San Francisco 49ers Week 2 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
You can look at the final score, 46-27.
Or you can look at the second-half comeback that saw the 49ers go from down 21 points late in the third quarter to trailing by a touchdown with 7:51 left in the game after Garrett Celek scored from 75 yards out on a pass from Blaine Gabbert.
Many of the locker-room leaders were encouraged by the team's late-game resolve and 17 fourth-quarter points, but the bottom-line nature of NFL football made it a tough outcome nonetheless.
"It's always hard when you get that first loss of the season," said NaVorro Bowman, who recorded 11 tackles in defeat. "You want to see, alright what are you going to do? How are you going to respond? So this is a challenge for this team that I think we are going to go in the right direction."
Joe Staley was more blunt with his assessment.
"I'm never excited about a loss," the left tackle said. "I don't get too excited about wins. What I do really enjoy about this football team is that everyone is really willing to put in the work and the time. I know that everyone is really eager to get into work on Monday."
Perhaps the best news following Sunday's outcome against Carolina is that San Francisco remains atop the NFC West in a four-way tie. The 49ers and Los Angeles Rams are the only clubs with divisional victories. San Francisco will look to add to its 1-1 record when they visit the Seattle Seahawks on the road in Week 3.
"That's the focus right now," Staley said. "We've got another great opportunity on the road to beat a good Seattle team."
Following the Panthers game, Chip Kelly's message to his players was about challenging them to respond in Week 3.
"You can control what you can control," McDonald said when relaying Kelly's postgame comments in the locker room. "We have to come in with the right mindset and the right attitude.
"(We have to) approach Seattle the same we approached this week, ready to win a football game."
The 49ers have forced six turnovers in two games. They'll face a Seahawks club that failed to score a touchdown in Week 2 and has scored 15 points so far this season. Still, winning in the Pacific Northwest remains a difficult test. The 49ers have not won in Seattle since 2011.
A divisional game against a rival like the Seahawks could be the perfect prescription to move on from Sunday's loss to the Panthers.
"We're going to take a lot of positives from the game," safety Antoine Bethea said. "I think we did some great things in all three phases. We'll look and correct the things that we didn't do well. We knew Carolina was the defending NFC champs. We knew we were facing a great team. We fought to the end, camp up short, but we've got 14 more (games)." Bowman remained confident in the 49ers defense on a day where Cam Newton and Carolina's offense got rolling in the second half with 29 points.
Teams leaders like No. 53 will continue to keep pushing for better results and take the second-half surge as momentum into Week 3.
"We know what type of team and players we have," the star linebacker said. "We know how prepared we are. We just have to turn it on a little faster. Be more precise and execute what coach is trying to get accomplished out there, and leave it out there on the field. If we do all those things, we will win the game without a doubt. But it's a long season. There's a lot to learn from, and then we will roll into Seattle."