Once again, the San Francisco 49ers have to be kicking themselves after controlling much of Super Bowl LVIII, only to surrender a 10-point lead while falling to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime, 25-22. For the players who experienced this same feeling four years ago, it must be like Déjà vu. To have Patrick Mahomes and KC seemingly where you want them then suddenly get caught up in a back-and-forth battle must be agonizing.
There’s something about this game for Kyle Shanahan that creates a mental block or maybe it’s just plain bad luck. Double-digit leads in three Super Bowls (one as Falcons OC) and he goes back home carrying an ‘L’ in each one. The ‘C’ word might be harsh as seen in the Twitter post above, but it’s hard to argue at this point.
Something malfunctions late in these Super Bowls with Shanahan’s play selection. Some say he overthinks at times, or he gets tight late in these games. For the past few years, we’ve raved about Shanahan and his offense and the fact that he does it without a Mahomes or Tom Brady (although he did attempt to bring Brady on board) type quarterback. Whether Jimmy Garoppolo or now Brock Purdy, the outcome in the sport’s biggest game is the same.
San Francisco pretty much dominated the first half of this game and felt like they should’ve been up at least two touchdowns at halftime instead of one. It’s safe to say that one thing the Chiefs have proven time and time again is that they are never truly out of any game. They may lose on occasion, but on the biggest stage in the biggest moments, they have that ‘it’ factor due to having Mahomes on their side.
Knowing you’re never out of any game because of one player is a feeling of invincibility. There aren’t a lot of teams that can say that about their QB. Guys like Brady, Mahomes, and Joe Montana are hard to bet against. Again, they may lose every now and then, but you always feel like you’ve got a chance with that guy. In Montana’s case, he never lost or threw an interception in a Super Bowl.
However, that era of 49ers football was generations ago and that feeling has never been duplicated. In their most recent eras, the Niners have gotten close but can’t cash in. Under Jim Harbaugh, they lost to the Ravens in Super Bowl XLVII by three points and now they’ve lost two under Shanahan. This most recent game Sunday was another three-point defeat.
Because of how the league has trended in recent years, Shanahan could be on the “hot seat” heading into next season. It’ll be Year 8 of his tenure with two Super Bowl losses on his Niners resume. Eventually, it gets to a point where a team has made all the personnel changes possible and still can’t get it done. That’s when we see a change in the head-coaching position. It might not happen now, but we’re approaching that fork in the road for Shanahan. It’s time to poop or get off the pot.
This is going to be the longest off-eason ever for most of these 49ers. Getting this close and even going into overtime with a chance at winning. Injuries to Dre Greenlaw (who did not return) and Deebo Samuel (who did return) during the game didn’t help, but SF still had a fighting chance. But when it came down to it, Mahomes sprinkled some of his magic dust on the field and came through in the clutch once again, leaving Shanahan and the Niners with nothing more than dreams of what could have been.
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