Kyle Shanahan on 49ers’ win in Mexico City: ‘One of the coolest experiences I’ve ever been a part of’

Kevin Patra, Around the NFL Writer

The San Francisco 49ers were designated the road team for Monday night’s 38-10 victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Mexico City, but Estadio Azteca teemed with Niners fans who buzzed from start to finish during the blowout.

“I love San Francisco, but if we couldn’t be there, I’d love to be here,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game, via The Mercury News. “This place is awesome. It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever been a part of. We were told it might be like that but it was even better than we expected.”

Following a tight first half, the 49ers blew the doors off in the second, scoring three touchdowns and not allowing an opponent to score in the final two quarters for the third straight game. The deluge turned a 17-10 game into a 38-10 laugher, and the 49ers fans in Mexico City rocked.

“I saw the game in Germany and those fans were just so happy for football to be there,” said Niners tight end George Kittle, who put up 84 yards and two TDs. “Coming down here, I know it was mostly Niners fans, too, so I knew the fans were going to show out. The reception that we got at the hotel last night was incredible. The fans all day here tonight were fantastic. It just had a completely different energy to it. You could tell how much it meant to each and every single fan that was there. And the lights show in the fourth quarter was probably one of the coolest moments of my career.”

The 49ers outclassed Arizona in every facet, including looking like the fresher team after spending the past week in Colorado to help prepare for the altitude in Mexico City.

“Yeah, the altitude is real. I think it would take a year-plus to get any used to that,” edge rusher Nick Bosa said. “It was brutal. It was like three full-speed reps and you’re hurting. But it does get better throughout the game, and I think we did a great job of sticking with it. I think our offense looked really good wind-wise. So, it was good. It was fun. I mean, that was one of the coolest atmospheres I’ve ever played in.”

It’s nearly impossible to separate the fact that the Niners are a better team in all facets right now than Arizona from the impact of the elevation. But anecdotally, it seemed the Cardinals ran out of gas in the second half.

Cards head coach Kliff Kingsbury, whose team didn’t do anything special to prepare for the elevation, dismissed that playing at 7,000-plus feet was a “game-changer.”

“I didn’t feel gassed,” linebacker Markus Golden added. “I really can’t answer that. They made some big plays in the second half. I thought we were going to make it a tough game, but we couldn’t do it.”

The 49ers, however, believe their time in Colorado allowed them to run away late.

“John York got the game ball,” Bosa said. “Just for him to put us in that situation and spend the money that you have to spend to do something like that is why the Niners are a winning franchise.”

The 49ers won their third straight game to move to 6-4 and overtake Seattle for the NFC West lead.

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