The San Francisco 49ers are 1-4 through five weeks of the 2015 regular season, but that doesn't mean players believe the record indicates where the team is headed.
"I don't feel like we're 1-4," Quinton Dial said on Monday, less than 24 hours after the 49ers lost, 30-27, in a back-and-forth game with the New York Giants. "I feel like we have a lot of talent in that locker room. We just have to learn how to finish games. That's what we have to do."
Like many on the roster, the starting defensive tackle said he was encouraged by what he saw from the 49ers on "Sunday Night Football." Although the Giants racked up 525 yards and 30 first downs, Dial said he felt like San Francisco's defense has made steady improvements.
"Over the past couple of weeks," Dial began, "I think we've progressively gotten better as a unit, but there are still a couple things that we just have to tweak and get better at.
"We just have to continue to get better and build on this last performance."
The 49ers did not register a sack on Eli Manning, but Aaron Lynch applied consistent pressure in the primetime contest. The second-year linebacker produced five quarterback hits in defeat.
When asked what led to San Francisco failing to stop Manning on a day where he completed 41 passes, a Giants franchise record, Dial took the high road.
"We have to get better collectively as a group," he said. "I can't throw anybody under the bus. It's a team effort."
The defensive lineman pointed to the 49ers holding the Giants to 84 rushing yards as a step in the right direction. In addition, Tramaine Brock recorded a key end-zone interception late in the first half to thwart a New York scoring drive. Brock nearly ended the game with a late fourth-quarter interception, but a review from NFL replay officials showed the ball hitting the MetLife Stadium turf before the cornerbck could fully cradle the football.
"That's real tough," Dial said of the near interception. "Obviously, we thought we had the game when T-Brock caught the ball. That's a real heartbreaker there. We can't hang our heads. It's a long season. We have to come back in ready to work and get ready for the Ravens."
San Francisco will host a Baltimore team with an identical 1-4 record this Sunday. Dial and the 49ers will be hungry for a win as they look to snap a four-game losing streak.
"It tests your manhood," Dial said of the latest loss. "That's what we signed up for. We can't hang our heads. We have to work every day and get better."