SANTA CLARA — Getting fired is never easy and for some, that feeling of disrespect can linger. Just ask Kyle Shanahan who, along with his father Mike, was axed by the Washington Redskins in 2013.
“I’m always a little more sensitive to this because of what I went through with my dad here,” Shanahan said after a muddy 9-0 victory over Washington at FedEx Field on Sunday. “It’s always nice to get the win. But it definitely had nothing to do with the game, nothing to do with the score.”
After earning his sixth consecutive win to open the season, Shanahan decided to share the moment of triumph with his father by giving him the game ball. The gesture encapsulated just how bitter things still are between the Shanahans and the Washington organization.
“That was something that I had been planning for a while,” Shanahan said. “Our guys had a lot of excuses to not go out there and play as hard as they did. But the way they played, I was just very appreciative that the effort that they gave allowed me to do something I’ve wanted to do for a while.”
All week, Shanahan had worked to downplay the magnitude of Sunday’s game beyond the fact that it was an opportunity for the 49ers to improve to 6-0 for the first time since 1990, when San Francisco started 10-0 on its way to an NFC Championship game appearance.
When asked if there was any extra juice behind the matchup, Shanahan demurred, stating that it had been a while since he was even in the building at Washington, let alone thought about them in that way.
The younger Shanahan, who served as the Redskins’ offensive coordinator under his head coach father for four seasons between 2010 and 2013, helped lead Washington to an NFC East title in 2012.
After a horrendous 3-13 season in 2013, the Shanahans were cut loose by owner Dan Snyder, exemplifying the level of dysfunction within the franchise.
Kyle Shanahan still has fond memories of his time in Washington, particularly the time spent working side-by-side with his dad. As for the bad parts? “Everything else,” he said.
On a FedEx Field water-logged by a torrential downpour — creatively nicknamed Lake Landover for the afternoon — Shanahan had to game plan around the weather along with the fact that he was without both of his starting offensive tackles and starting fullback.
With just 283 yards of total offense, the 49ers scored three field goals while their defense shut out the Redskins in one of the ugliest, grittiest games San Francisco has played in recent memory.
“I think it says a lot. That’s why I was so appreciative of the guys yesterday,” Shanahan said. “I did think there were a lot of weird little circumstances that made that game very tough. It gave our guys a chance to let up … Our guys did the opposite.”
They also gave Shanahan a chance to stick it to his former employer.
“You always want to take care of things the right way when you’re bothered by some things that happened to a family member,” Shanahan said.
While Mike wasn’t in Washington to watch his son dish out some payback to their former team or to accept the game ball in a raucous post-game 49ers locker room, the two did text later that night to discuss what had transpired.
“It was just texts because I was on the plane and I don’t like talking in front of other people,” Shanahan said. “It was good. I didn’t have to talk to him to know that he was excited and he didn’t have to talk to me to know that I was excited. We felt good to get that done.”
– According to Shanahan, starting left tackle Joe Staley is expecting to return to practice this week after missing the last four games with a broken left fibula.
A 13-year veteran, Staley has started in 176 games for San Francisco, rarely missing prolonged stretches. In 2009 and 2010, he sat for a pair of seven-game stretches due to a sprained knee and a broken leg, respectively.
Staley has been seen on the field doing light workouts as part of his rehabilitation schedule and last week, Shanahan said that he expects the 35-year-old lineman to be back when the 49ers take on the Arizona Cardinals on Halloween night.
If Staley does, in fact, return to the practice field this week, a return in Week 9 looks very possible.
– Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin and running back Matt Breida, who both exited Sunday’s game with head injuries, have cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol.
According to Shanahan, both are “fine” and do not have any lingering symptoms besides soreness after an ultra-physical affair against Washinton, which held San Francisco to a season-low 146 yards passing and no touchdowns for the first time this season.
Breida finished Sunday’s game with 35 yards on eight carries while Goodwin caught zero passes on one target.