February 24, 2024
The 49ers blew out the Steelers to open the season.

The 49ers opened their season impressively Sunday in Pittsburgh, blasting the Steelers 30-7.

Brock Purdy found Brandon Aiyuk for two touchdowns in the first half, Christian McCaffrey ran for a long score to open the second half and the defense shut down the Steelers.

Purdy finished with 220 yards on 19-for-29 passing, 129 of which went to Aiyuk on eight connections. McCaffrey totaled 151 yards on 22 carries. Charvarius Ward and Talanoa Hufanga each intercepted Kenny Pickett, and Drake Jackson sacked him three times as the defense allowed just 41 rushing yards.

Here’s what coach Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers had to say after the win:

Kyle Shanahan

On getting up early:

It opened up as good as you could hope for. I thought it was about 28 minutes of really good football and then two minutes of really bad football.

On fast start:

We always try to get off fast. That’s always our goal and was glad that we did it.

On Jake Moody’s day:

We felt so good about him in practice every day. He’s been great. He had a couple of struggles in the preseason game and then got hurt but he healed a lot faster than we expected. He’s been pretty good here in practice and we still want to see it in games.

On Bosa’s snap count:

Our number was between 30 and 40 — that’s what we said going in.

On game plan and Aiyuk’s day:

You don’t go in thinking it’s all going to be Aiyuk today, you go in with it pretty balanced. … Anytime you throw it to someone eight times and all eight of them are completions, that means you’re doing some real good stuff.

On Drake Jackson:

Real happy for him… Drake put in a ton of work this offseason, put in a ton of work going into training camp. Had a setback when he got injured so you got to miss a lot of training camp but he’s worked his but off to get back.

On the Steelers:

We got a lot of respect for that team just watching how they were at the end of last year. We knew what was coming all offseason and watched them throughout the preseason.

On Brock Purdy’s return from injury:

He’s done everything he can to come back and he handles the pressure well. He really doesn’t change. That’s why the guys love him and that’s why he continues to get better.

Christian McCaffrey

On his long TD run:

It was awesome blocking, those guys up front. The whole run game is an 11-man job, and they made great blocks. I got a little spin and got spring and then, man, I think it was Aiyuk and Ray-Ray downfield, when you got receivers who block like that, that’s a special feeling for a running back because, you know, you truly feel like guys have your back.

On improving:

Obviously, statistically, it was a good game but I think there’s still some feel-it-out plays that you know when you go through camp and you see different looks throughout camp and then now you go into a live-bullet game, you’re not 100% sure how another defense is going to play you. … I think it’s important that we keep just growing each game and getting better each game.

On carrying over today into next week:

Each play has a life of its own, each game has a life of its own. Today we won, next week there’s a challenge. This is the NFL, it doesn’t work like that.

Brandon Aiyuk

 

We’ve had a couple encounters, so I’ve been talking to Pat for a while now, but it was fun to go against him.

On his second score:

Purdy just gave me an opportunity to make a play on the ball and

On his first touchdown:

Kind of just a wide release, Deebo there and creating a one-on-one matchup with Pat (Peterson) on the outside.

On the first half:

Defense was playing great. We were in for one today. It felt like it was a super long first half. Defense was getting off the field quickly, and we were going back out there.

On his downfield block on McCaffrey’s long run:

It was kind of messy that play. I don’t even know what to do. I just kind of saw Christian breaking free and then went to go check somebody.

On respect from outside:

I really don’t care too much about respect no more. I just come out here and do my job.

On growth from 2021 opener that saw him disgruntled:

Two years ago, Detroit. That was a long time ago, but that was a different time — that was a very different time. But like I said, I’m just kind of trying to come out here every day and do my job.

Brock Purdy

On opening with a scoring drive:

I think it was huge, you know, coming in. First off, defense getting a stop, gettingus great field position and then, you know, obviously being able to run the ball, set some things up in the pass game and then BA at the end. But in terms of momentum and a hostile environment, it’s huge for us.

On if the first TD had him reflecting on the return from surgery:

Honestly, not really. I think more in camp and stuff, I felt like that. Right there in that moment, it was like, you know, this is what we’re supposed to do, this is what we expect us to do, expect of ourselves, and you know, once I hit that touchdown, I wasn’t thinking surgery or anything like that.

On the deep TD pass to Aiyuk:

Oh yeah, that one felt good.

Fred Warner

On the win:

It was exactly how we wanted to come out. It was an emphasis on, you know, past seasons, us coming out with slow starts. We knew that we needed to come in and set the tone right from the jump.

On if any other team has wide receivers blocking like the 49ers:

If there is, I haven’t seen it like we do it. That’s an emphasis on that side. If you want to play and you want to start at that position, it’s not just about catching the ball. They do a heck of a job downfield blocking.

Nick Bosa

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On how he feels:

Felt good. My body held up good. I played pretty much the exact amount of snaps we were hoping for. The three-and-outs kind of helped me not go too hard early. But the body felt great and that was the No. 1 thing — and wins. Wins are always nice.

On 49ers making a statement:

To do that for Steve (Wilks) in his first time out there (as coordinator), to set the tone with however many three-and-outs we had, it’s a great thing to propel us forward.

On strong start from the d-line:

You love to get a good start. We had five sacks today as a d-line, so Kris (Kocurek, the d-line coach) was definitely happy. Drake (Jackson) broke out, which we expecting. We just have so many players. It fun to watch Aiyuk do his thing and Purdy shut some haters up. It’s nice to be on a really good team.

On Javon Hargrave:

We’d watch him with Philly. Between him, Chris Jones and obviously Aaron Donald, it’s pretty close as to who affects games as much from the inside. To add him with Arik (Armstead), it’s going to help us on the edge a lot.

On Drake Jackson:

I’ve been watching tape throughout the holdout and I mean it was clear as day that he’s made strides in his work ethic and his preparation and all of his moves up there. He’s been really detailed and put on some weight and he’s still moving like he moves, so it’s going to be dangerous.

On Purdy:

I think whenever a guy comes back from an injury and people don’t expect him to make another leap in the second year. I’m just happy for him. He’s exactly who we thought he was.

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