49ers news: Kyle Shanahan talks Jake Moody, Sam Darnold, preparation for NFL playoffs

Kyle Shanahan weighed in on some pressing 49ers topics after the Week 18 loss to the Rams, including:

- Jake Moody's crucial misses

- Prepping for the playoffs

- Sam Darnold's first Niners start

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan
San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan / G Fiume/GettyImages
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Kyle Shanahan says he was pleased with Sam Darnold

With No. 1 quarterback Brock Purdy getting the weekend off, backup signal-caller Sam Darnold got his first-ever start in a San Francisco uniform and looked notably competent over the first half when Kyle Shanahan was fielding a decent amount of his starters and immediate backups.

It was in the second half when Darnold mostly struggled amid the 49ers' B- and C-teams taking the field in support of him, further flashing the feel of a preseason bout.

That said, Darnold did enough to impress Shanahan.

"I thought Sam did some real good things," the head coach said. "He made a number of plays that kept us out there. He did a great job scrambling. He was awesome on his sneaks. The quarterback draw. I think he moved the chains one other time with his legs, made some big throws. I know that last play was unfortunate, just stepping up in the pocket there and those guys coming from behind him with the fumble. I was happy with Sam today."

Related story: 49ers 2024 playoff schedule: Game days, start times, opponents

Overall on the day, Darnold went 16-of-26 for 189 yards, a passing touchdown, a rushing touchdown, no interceptions and a passer rating of 96.5.

"It was really good to just get out there and play an entire football game," Darnold added. "Obviously, the result wasn't what we all wanted, but it was good to get out there, get good quality reps."

While the Niners hope Darnold plays precisely zero meaningful reps from this point onward, at least they know their No. 2 quarterback can hold his own if called upon this postseason.

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