Fred Warner thinks the 49ers will be better off from battle-tested game with Browns

Oct 17, 2023, 12:10 PM | Updated: 1:08 pm

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball after intercepting a pass from Dak Pr...

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 08: Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers runs with the ball after intercepting a pass from Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium on October 08, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The San Francisco 49ers got smacked in the face in Week 6, losing to the Cleveland Browns in an upset. While the loss is a tough pill to swallow, several members of the team, including Fred Warner, feel that it was a crucial learning lesson for them.

The 49ers All-Pro linebacker was honest in his assessment of the team’s performance Sunday, saying that the Browns had done enough to win the contest. Despite holding Cleveland’s offense to 19 points, that wasn’t good enough, allowing the home team to convert in crucial moments through the day.

And while San Francisco had a chance to steal the game late, Warner isn’t putting the loss solely on rookie kicker Jake Moody, looking into the mirror first and foremost.

“The main thing is that I think they earned it and we didn’t,” Fred Warner said postgame Sunday. “That’s what it came down to. I would never put it on Moody at the end there. It’s great that we had an opportunity to win in that fashion, but we didn’t earn it. They earned it.”

The 49ers are now 5-1 to start the 2023 NFL season, with Sunday’s loss ending a 15-game regular season win streak that started in 2022. Leading up to Week 6, the 49ers had waltzed through the competition, most recently dominating the Dallas Cowboys, 42-10, on Sunday Night Football.

But like in life, you learn more from your failures than your successes. The Red & Gold feel the same way after a hard-fought matchup with the AFC North Browns. Even though it didn’t swing their way in the end, Warner and Co. feel confident that this can be a launching pad for success later in the season.

“I said that win or loss, I felt like we needed this game. We knew what type of game it was going to be. In order for us to be the team that we want to be moving forward, we need to get battle-tested. That’s exactly what today was. We learn from it, watch the tape, look at it hard internally and be better from it,” Warner explained.

Defensive end Nick Bosa felt a similar way postgame, feeling as though the 49ers didn’t rise to the occasion Sunday.

“It’s an unbelievable defense, and we needed to match their intensity and we let up too much,” Bosa added. “So, definitely a learning experience of how teams are going to attack us, especially teams who know our scheme, because [the Browns] run this similar scheme. But yeah, just got to take it as a learning experience. I don’t think we deserved to win today.

The coaching staff also agrees with the players’ takeaways, feeling as though too many mistakes doomed SF all along. But with that comes the opportunity to be better, with the hope that Monday’s film study was a growing point for everyone.

“I mean, you’ve got to play good football in this league, or you are going to get beat. It doesn’t matter who you play or what or when, but we didn’t play that good of football,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday. “Rarely do the football gods reward you when you make as many mistakes as we did. Not just missed assignments, penalties, missed tackles, a couple missed opportunities that are the difference in winning and losing. When you miss those throughout the game, rarely does it work out in the end.

“I think it was a good learning experience and really all that matters is when we come in, when they come in tomorrow and they watch this film with us, just like all that matters when they came in after Dallas and watched the film, is that you watch what you did good, you watch what you did bad, and you make sure that you get better the next week.”

The 49ers will have an extra day of prep to bounce back this week, facing the Minnesota Vikings on Monday Night Football.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Monday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 PM PST
  • Thursday, November 23rd @ Seattle Seahawks – 5:20 PM PST

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