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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Kyle Shanahan Explains Two Pivotal 49ers Decisions in OT After Losing Super Bowl vs. Chiefs

Once again, the San Francisco 49ers came up a couple plays short of taking home a Super Bowl title, losing 25–22 to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.

After the loss, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan addressed a few crucial decisions that he made in overtime that ultimately didn’t go San Francisco’s way.

On the first possession of overtime, the 49ers faced a fourth-and-4 from Kansas City’s 9-yard line. They opted to kick a 27-yard field goal, which rookie Jake Moody booted through the uprights. 

Due to new NFL playoff rules, the Chiefs were guaranteed to have a possession in overtime even if the 49ers scored a touchdown. But did San Francisco ever consider going for the fourth down in an attempt to score six points instead of three?

“No, we never thought about it there,” Shanahan said to reporters after the game. “Fourth-and-4, even if we do go and score, they can still go down and match it. So, no, there wasn’t a thought there.”

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The 49ers took a 22–19 lead before quarterback Patrick Mahomes marched the Chiefs on a game-winning 13-play, 75-yard drive capped off with Mecole Hardman’s three-yard touchdown catch.

Before overtime had even started, Shanahan faced another pivotal decision after the 49ers won the coin toss. Instead of allowing Kansas City to set the pace in overtime, the 49ers elected to go on offense first to test the seldom-used new playoff rules.

“That’s just something we talked about,” Shanahan said. “None of us have a ton of experience, but we went through the analytics and talked to those guys. We decided it’d be better, we wanted the ball third. 

“If both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones with a chance to go win. We got that field goal, so we knew we had to hold them to at least a field goal. If we did, we thought it was in our hands after that.”

The process was there, but the results once again weren’t for Shanahan, who fell to 0–2 in Super Bowls as a head coach.

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