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49ers’ Shanahan admits he began studying Packers by halftime of win over Cowboys

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It didn’t take too long for Kyle Shanahan to conclude that San Francisco would be facing Green Bay in the divisional round.

The 49ers coach shared that he began working under the assumption that his team would be taking on the Packers (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET on FOX and the FOX Sports app) before halftime of the latter’s 48-32 win against the Cowboys this past Sunday. 

“We were already in here. So, we were doing it that day,” Shanahan told reporters of the 49ers’ preparations for the Packers. “We started really focusing on [the Packers] halfway through the second quarter.”

The Packers quickly got out to a lead in their win over the Cowboys, scoring a touchdown on the game’s opening drive. They made it 14-0 by the opening minutes of the second quarter and jumped ahead 27-0 before the half.

“Then [the Cowboys] scored at the end of the second quarter,” Shanahan said. “So, I kind of did both [teams] at halftime. Third quarter, I was set on one team.”

The Cowboys scored 10 points late in the second quarter, but that didn’t slow down the Packers. They increased their lead to 32 points by the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

Jordan Love throws for 272 yards and three TDs in Packers’ 48-32 win over Cowboys

If the Cowboys were able to pull off the comeback, the 49ers would have taken on the Buccaneers, which they wouldn’t have known until Monday evening.

But that’s all in the past, now, as is the 49ers’ bye week. San Francisco was able to rest up after getting the No. 1 seed in the NFC, giving All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey more time to heal. CMC was slated to be a full participant in Tuesday’s practice after missing the team’s regular-season finale with a calf strain, Shanahan told reporters.  

“I think he’s geared up and ready to go, the same way he was last year,” Shanahan said of McCaffrey. “Probably the same way he was in a playoff game when he was 5 years old, too, or a scrimmage. Christian is always the same. He’s always waiting for that moment, and he’s been waiting for this moment for a while.”

McCaffrey arguably had the most impressive season of any player in the NFL and could earn some first-place MVP votes for his dual-threat exploits out of the backfield. The favorite for Offensive Player of the Year rushed for a league-leading 1,459 yards on 5.4 yards per carry. He also had 67 receptions for 564 yards, giving him the league lead in scrimmage yards (2,023). He also scored an NFL-best 21 touchdowns. 

Did Jordan Love just RAISE the Green Bay Packers’ playoff hopes?

Brock Purdy is another key 49ers starter who has rested the past two weeks. The second-year quarterback sat out the regular-season finale for precautionary reasons as the club had nothing to play for. Shanahan said he isn’t worried about rust with his young QB.

“He hasn’t been on a bye week. We pushed the heck out of Brock — meetings, practice,” Shanahan said. “He’s been here, he’s worked on his days off, we got two bigger practices last week than we do in a normal week, and Brock went out with the guys on Monday and did some things with them. Now we’re going to get two practices in with him again. … I don’t worry about that affecting Brock at all for Saturday.”

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