Once again, the San Francisco 49ers have to kick themselves after having a lot of control Super Bowl LVIII, only to surrender a 10-point lead while falling in overtime to the Kansas City Chiefs, 25-22. For the players who experienced the same feeling four years ago, it must be like Déjà vu. Having Patrick Mahomes and KC seemingly where you want them and then suddenly being caught in a back-and-forth battle has to be painful.
There’s something about this game for Kyle Shanahan that creates a mental block, or maybe it’s just bad luck. Double digit leads in three Super Bowls (one as Falcons OC) and he goes back home with an ‘L’ in each one. The ‘C’ word can be harsh as seen in the Twitter post above, but it’s hard to argue at this point.
Something is functioning late in these Super Bowls with Shanahan’s play selection. Some say he sometimes thinks too much, or gets stiff late in these games. For the past few years, we’ve raved about Shanahan and his offense and the fact that he’s doing it without a Mahomes or Tom Brady (although he did try to bring Brady on board) type quarterback. Whether it’s Jimmy Garoppolo or Brock Purdy, the outcome in sports’ biggest game is the same.
San Francisco pretty much dominated the first half of this game and felt like they should have been down at least two touchdowns instead of one at halftime. 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 at times, but on the biggest stage in the biggest moments, they have that ‘it’ factor because they have Mahomes on their side.
Knowing that you are never out of any game because of one player is a feeling of invincibility. There aren’t many teams that can say that about their QB. Guys like Brady, Mahomes, and Joe Montana is hard to bet against. Again, they can lose every now and then, but you always feel like you have 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 periods, the Niners have come close but can’t cash in. Under Jim Harbaugh they lost to the Ravens by three points in Super Bowl XLVII and now they have lost two under Shanahan. This most recent game on Sunday was another three-point loss.
Because of how the league has trended in recent years, Shanahan could be on the “hot seat” heading into next season. This will 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. This is when we see a change in the head coaching position. It might not happen now, but we’re getting closer to that fork in the road for Shanahan. It’s time to poop or get off the potty.
This is going to be the longest offseason ever for most of these 49ers. To come so close and even go into overtime with a chance to win. Injuries to Dre Greenlaw (who didn’t 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 again in the clutch, leaving Shanahan and the Niners with nothing more than dreams of what could have been.