No one is going to brag about a 1-9 record, but it's a whole lot better than being 0-10.
You could feel the relief in the San Francisco 49ers locker room following the 31-21 win over the New York Giants in Week 10. Postgame interviews featured smiles and positivity rather than the discouragement that has commonly filled those media-player interactions.
You could see the exaltation in the video posted by the 49ers Twitter account. Players bounced up and down in the middle of the locker room while their yelling made the boom box nearly inaudible. Kyle Shanahan was doused with a Gatorade jug full of water. From veterans like Joe Staley all the way to rookies like Kendrick Bourne, it was obvious that their first victory of 2017 carried serious weight.
You could hear the roar of the Faithful throughout Sunday's game as San Francisco put on a show. Fans had long deserved the peace of mind that their 49ers wouldn't join infamous company as an 0-16 team.
"I feel good," Shanahan said following his first win as an NFL head coach. "I feel very good. I didn't know it'd take this long, but it was special with the guys. I was real happy for them. Those guys have been working so hard, and we just keep coming in every Monday so disappointed. By the time I see them every Wednesday, it's like the first game of the year. To have them still out there going like that with how many we've lost in a row, that's what gave us a chance to win today and just real happy for them."
C.J. Beathard was masterful on Sunday, leading the offense to 476 total yards and 31 points. The rookie quarterback threw for 288 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in his first-career win. Beathard also scored his third rushing touchdown of the season on an 11-yard scramble in the fourth quarter.
His two passing touchdowns came on explosive plays: An 83-yard bomb to Marquise Goodwin followed by a 47-yard catch-and-run from Garrett Celek.
"It feels great," Beathard said. "There's really nothing better. There's not a better feeling. That's why you play sports is that feeling in the locker room with your teammates celebrating a win. There's nothing like it."
The offensive line, running backs and tight ends also deserve a hefty share of the credit for Beathard's career day. Collectively, the group allowed just two quarterback hits and no sacks. That's a stark improvement after Beathard was hit 16 times in Week 9. The return of Staley surely played a big factor in that regard.
San Francisco also racked up 186 rushing yards in what was a comprehensive performance offensively. Pierre Garçon accounted for 98 of those yards on 17 carries. Matt Breida chipped in with nine carries for 55 yards and his first-career rushing touchdown.
In a season of missed opportunities, the 49ers didn't leave much on the table against the Giants on Sunday.
"I think it was balance and it takes the pressure off everybody," Shanahan said. "Mainly the quarterback, but also the O-Line, the receivers and the backs. You make them defend the whole field and you put guys in more of an advantageous (position)."
Defensively, the 49ers bent, but never broke. When the offense turned the ball over twice, the defense was there to pick up the slack, getting a stop on both occasions. Ronald Blair III posted a two sack game, one of which resulted in a fumble that Eric Reid recovered.
Bradley Pinion, commonly one of the busiest guys on the roster this season, didn't have his first punt until midway through the fourth quarter. There was plenty to smile about all around.
"When you lose nine in a row you learn to savor the moments and enjoy these," Shanahan said. "It was tough work for us to get our first win, and we got it. I think the guys knew how much it meant to me, and I knew how much it meant to them. I think we're a pretty close team, and I think we've gotten closer through adversity. I hope this can make us better through adversity."
Following a team photo on Monday, players and coaches will disperse around the country for some much-needed rest and relaxation. The bye week offers the opportunity to see family or go on vacation. Hitting the reset button from a mental standpoint is essential with six games left to play in 2017.
That's a whole lot easier to do after Sunday's win.