Kyle Shanahan Defends Charvarius Ward After Bad Outing


DK Metcalf #14 of the Seattle Seahawks bobbles the ball to makes a catch against Charvarius Ward #7 of the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in the NFC Wild Card playoff game at Levi's Stadium on January 14, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)


When the San Francisco 49ers defeated the Seattle Seahawks 41-23 on Saturday to open up the NFL playoffs, it was a brilliant all-around performance by just about everyone on the 49ers.

However, one of their key players didn’t do his job to satisfaction.

That player was cornerback Charvarius Ward, who gave up 136 yards and two touchdowns to Seattle wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, including multiple long receptions.

Some people were concerned a bit about San Francisco’s secondary following its Week 17 overtime win at the Las Vegas Raiders when Davante Adams collected 153 yards and two touchdowns, and the natural reaction is to feel that someone such as the Dallas Cowboys’ CeeDee Lamb could really hurt the Niners next week.

But head coach Kyle Shanahan thinks Ward didn’t do too badly; in fact, he even said Ward’s poor performance may actually help in the long run.

“I think it’ll fuel him a lot,” said Shanahan following the win, per “He played as good as he could versus D.K. [Metcalf] in that first game and it’s hard to do that again. … He is a problem to stop and I like that Mooney didn’t stop, he didn’t shy away from him once he got beat on that deep ball.”

Once in a while, even the best corners in the NFL will have a bad game, especially against a stud wideout such as Metcalf, who surpassed the 1,000-yard mark this year for the second time in his four-year career.

Ward’s numbers showed some slippage later in the season, but overall, his 56.8 completion percentage allowed and 82.4 passer rating allowed when his man was targeted were very solid.

In fact, Ward did actually lock up Metcalf during the 49ers’ two regular season matchups against Seattle, both of which were relatively easy wins.

The Niners will face the Cowboys in the Divisional Round at Levi’s Stadium this coming weekend, and Dak Prescott‘s crew should be a stiffer test than the Seahawks were, especially considering that Lamb put up bigger numbers than Metcalf did this season and, unlike him, was voted into the Pro Bowl.

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