Kyle Shanahan lets another Super Bowl slip away in 49ers’ OT loss to Chiefs

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The Super Bowl drought lives on for Kyle Shanahan.

For a third time as an offensive coordinator or head coach, Shanahan held a lead in the second half of the Super Bowl.

But once again, Shanahan’s team couldn’t keep the lead, as the San Francisco 49ers lost to Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs 25-22 in overtime at Allegient Stadium in Las Vegas in Super Bowl LVIII.

As the offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Shanahan mishandled a 28-3 third-quarter lead to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI and Tom Brady rallied the Patriots to a 34-28 win in overtime.

Three years later, in Super Bowl LIV, the 49ers gave up a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter to the Chiefs, losing 31-20.

And on Sunday, the 49ers again watched a 10-point, second-half lead evaporate, losing in extra time. It’s the third consecutive Super Bowl that San Francisco has lost, continuing a 29-year championship drought.

San Francisco’s last Super Bowl win came in 1994 in Super Bowl XXIX, with Steve Young at quarterback. Shanahan was 15 years old and current quarterback Brock Purdy wasn’t even born. 

Shanahan has the second-most wins of any active head coach without a Super Bowl title (72), behind only Sean McDermott (78). He’s the only active head coach with multiple Super Bowl appearances who has yet to win a title.

“I don’t care how you lose,” Shanahan told reporters afterward. “When you lose Super Bowls, especially ones you think you can pull off, it hurts. But when you’re in the NFL, I think every team should hurt except for one at the end. We’ve gotten pretty damn close, but we haven’t pulled it off.

“We’re hurting right now, but it doesn’t take away how proud of our guys I am. That’s part of sports, part of football and part of life.” 

Kyle Shanahan after losing the Super Bowl: “Obviously, we’re hurting.”

Kyle Shanahan after losing the Super Bowl: "Obviously, we're hurting."

The 49ers got great individual performances from running back Christian McCaffrey (160 scrimmage yards and a score) and receiver Jauan Jennings, who became the first player since Nick Foles to throw for a touchdown and catch a touchdown pass in a Super Bowl.

San Francisco’s defense held up for the most part, sacking Mahomes three times and holding running back Isiah Pacheco to 59 rushing yards.

Rookie kicker Jake Moody had an extra point blocked that would have given San Francisco the chance to win the game in regulation, but he also made a 53-yard field goal in the fourth quarter that helped put the game into overtime.

The 49ers also got a muffed punt by Ray-Ray McCloud III that he tried to recover after the ball bounced off the foot of teammate Darrell Luter, making it a live ball. That miscue was recovered by Kansas City’s Jaylen Watson, and the Chiefs immediately turned that fumble into a 16-yard touchdown by Marquez Valdes-Scantling, giving Kansas City the team’s first lead, 13-10 with 2:32 left in the third quarter. 

Purdy played a solid game, finishing 23-of-38 for 255 passing yards, with a touchdown and no interceptions. 

In overtime, the 49ers won the toss and got the ball first. However, San Francisco had to settle for a Moody 27-yard field goal when Purdy failed to connect with Jennings in the end zone facing a blitz.

“They brought zero [all-out blitz] and I was trying to get the ball to J.J.,” Purdy said. “That’s what was hurting me, just knowing that, yeah, we’re going to execute the field goal and just trusting Jake and all of the rest of the guys on the field goal. But then, obviously, their offense is really good. Mahomes is really good. And you don’t want to give them an opportunity to win the game off a touchdown.”

Brock Purdy on team’s demeanor after Super Bowl loss to Chiefs

Brock Purdy on team's demeanor after Super Bowl loss to Chiefs

Unfortunately for San Francisco, that’s what Mahomes did, driving Kansas City 75 yards on 13 plays, with the drive ending on a 3-yard touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman out in the flat.

“What I can’t live with is when I do stuff that I didn’t plan on doing or I second guess myself,” Shanahan told reporters after the game. “I’m proud of what we did today as a coaching staff and as players.

“We worked and we did everything we planned on doing. We just didn’t get it done.” 

Eric D. Williams has reported on the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.


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