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Shanahan Examines the 49ers Run Defense; 3 Takeaways Following #SFvsAZ

The San Francisco 49ers are fresh off a division-clinching 45-29 win over the Arizona Cardinals to remain at the top of the conference standings headed into Week 16. The red and gold are in control of their own playoff destiny, and if they can run the table, they'll secure the highly coveted No. 1 seed and first round Bye that accompanies it. 

As the 49ers continue their playoff push, they'll be contending with a few notable carryover injuries to some of their defensive starters as well as some banged up players from a physical Week 15 matchup. San Francisco will have an extra day to rest and recover with their next game slated for Christmas evening at Levi's® Stadium. 

Here are the three biggest takeaways from head coach Kyle Shanahan during his Monday conference call:

After allowing 234 yards on the ground to the Cardinals, Shanahan closely examined the team's run defense.

The 49ers uncharacteristically gave up 234 yards on the ground to the Cardinals after holding 10 of their previous 13 opponents this season to under 100 rushing yards per game. San Francisco was without two of its starting interior defensive linemen in Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave and also had Kalia Davis exit the game early, and their absence was felt out on the field. Run defense will be a big point of emphasis as the 49ers prepare for the Baltimore Ravens and their high-powered rushing attack on Christmas Day.

"All the factors went into it," Shanahan said. "One, having those guys out. Two, the amount of plays they got, especially in the first half. Losing Kalia during the game, which really got those guys tired out towards the end, especially when they stayed on the field during a couple third downs in those last couple drives. 

"I thought the biggest thing was the missed tackles. They bounced off a couple, and then, mainly our tracking angles on a number of plays... Usually when you give up that yardage, you're expecting a lot of schematic busts, especially with a running quarterback, so I thought that didn't hurt us as bad as you'd expect. We have to clean up all those tackles and try to get our depth back too."

The 49ers injury list had new names added to it following Sunday's contest:

The head coach shared updates to previously injured players:

  • OL Spencer Burford (knee): expected to return to practice this week 
  • RB Elijah Mitchell (knee), TE Ross Dwelley (high ankle sprain), DL Arik Armstead (foot/knee) and DL Javon Hargrave (hamstring): the head coach said the team has to "just see how it goes with them," and the team will have a better idea of their progress once they start practicing later in the week.

Quarterback Brock Purdy appears to have no lingering effects from the left shoulder stinger he suffered in the first half of Sunday's contest.

The 49ers QB1 took a hard hit from a Cardinals defender in the final minutes of the second quarter on a passing play to fullback Kyle Juszczyk. The hit drew a roughing the passer penalty, and Purdy was laid out on the field before exiting the game to be medically examined. He missed just three plays before reentering and closing the contest with another 130-plus passer rating. During the game, his injury was identified as a left shoulder stinger. 

In his postgame press conference, Purdy noted that "as time went on, it just started going away." On Monday, Shanahan provided an update on the in-game injury. 

"Not that I heard," Shanahan said when asked about residual effects of the stinger. "He felt good last night, and they didn't give me any information today that they are concerned about. I'm assuming it's your typical stinger and the fact that he was able to get through the game was a pretty good sign."

View game photos from the San Francisco 49ers Week 15 matchup vs. the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium.

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