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Across The Field: 49ers Are Fighting The Super Bowl Hangover

The San Francisco 49ers return to MetLife Stadium for a Week 3 game against the Giants and with the ongoing challenge of fighting the dreaded Super Bowl hangover.

The San Francisco 49ers have a tough act to follow this season, and that is the 2019 San Francisco 49ers.

After surging from the basement of the NFC to a Super Bowl berth last year, the 49ers fell one fourth-quarter hold short of claiming the organization's sixth Lombardi Trophy when they blew a 20-10 fourth-quarter lead to the Kansas City Chiefs in February.

Now they face the dreaded Super Bowl hangover year, which has statically not been kind to teams' chances of winning their conference again.

Only eight teams in NFL history — the 1971 Cowboys, 1972 Dolphins, the 1973 Vikings, the 1987 Broncos, the 1991-93 Bills, and the 2018 Patriots — have returned to the Super Bowl the year after losing the Big Game.

For 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, the challenge of leading a team off of a heart-wrenching Super Bowl defeat comes down to a simple attitude.

"Just deal with it," Shanahan said of how to respond to the Super Bowl loss at the NFL Scouting combine back in February.

"Anytime you have a tough loss, I think there's a grieving process you've got to go through. I think everyone goes through that. I mean, it is disappointing, especially how much you put on the line for that, but that's life.

"You can deal with it. No one died. It is disappointing. We do have to grieve, but I'm doing a lot better now than I was three weeks ago, and I plan on doing better three weeks from now than I am right now."

San Francisco's hopes to return to the Super Bowl took another big hit last Sunday with an epic slew of injuries that will sideline a handful of key players, including quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, defensive end Nick Bosa and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas.

Shanahan has not proven to be able to field a winning team through injuries, evident by the 2018 49ers who finished a dismal 4-12 when Garoppolo was lost for the season in Week 2.

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New York Giants linebacker Tae Crowder (48) breaks a tackle by Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin (17) for a touchdown in the second half. The New York Giants defeat the Washington Football Team, 20-19, at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020, in East Rutherford. Nyg Vs Was

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While Garoppolo has a chance to be back before the season is over, Shanahan's coaching and expertise as an offensive guru will nonetheless be tested in the coming weeks with backup Nick Mullens under center.

The 49ers roster is built to win now, and the prospect of an unsuccessful season in 2020 could bring about questions of Shanahan's job security, and a loss to the 0-2 Giants might get the conversation started prematurely.

However, with that pressure also comes opportunity.

Both the Giants and the 49ers have the opportunity to put their resolve on display despite their respective team injuries.

For the 49ers in particular, proving that they can get a win on the road in the aftermath of a disastrous week of injuries might set a very resilient tone in a season in which they are already looking to overcome a heart-wrenching Super Bowl defeat.

Giants-49ers Regular Season Series History

The Giants lead the 49ers in the all-time series 21-20, and Sunday will determine whether the Giants preserve that lead or if the 49ers tie the series, just as they did twice in the past six years.

The Giants and 49ers have split their last four games dating back to 2014, with each team winning at home and on the road.

The last meeting between the two teams was on Monday night, November 12, 2018, in Santa Clara, a 27-23 Giants win. In that game, quarterback Eli Manning threw his 350th career touchdown pass.

While the two teams might be on opposite ends of the spectrum, the overall series has been close. In 41 combined meetings (regular- and postseason), the Giants lead 21-20, and the scoring in those 41 games is separated by five points (Giants 843, 49ers 838).