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Recap: Fourth-quarter collapse dooms 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, Chiefs win 31-20

Feb 2, 2020 at 7:12 PM--


1st 2nd 3rd 4th Tot
SF 3 7 10 0 20
KC 7 3 0 21 31

Twenty-one points in the fourth quarter for the Kansas City Chiefs.

Those, and a litany of other mistakes, ultimately doomed the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV, who held a 20-10 lead entering the fourth quarter. But that wasn't enough, as the Niners ultimately coughed up the lead and then some, falling to 5-2 all time in Super Bowl games after losing 31-20.

The first half was certainly less explosive than most would have thought, as the Niners and Chiefs found themselves knotted up in a 10-10 tie at the half. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes gave the Chiefs a 7-3 lead after a 1-yard touchdown run, which was answered in the second quarter by a 15-yard touchdown catch by fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Garoppolo, meanwhile, tossed an interception, which led to Kansas City's three other first-half points.

San Francisco appeared to get some momentum early in the third quarter, however, as wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders managed some chunk gains. But that drive ended in a field goal to make it 13-10.

On the following defensive stand, however, linebacker Fred Warner came up with a huge interception off the hands of Mahomes for a Niners defensive takeaway:


The 49ers managed to put together a solid drive after the turnover, culminating in a 1-yard touchdown run by running back Raheem Mostert to make it 20-10.

Mostert finished the game with 58 yards on 12 carries, while the Chiefs managed a total of 129 rush yards and averaged 4.4 yards per attempt. But Kansas City's big pass plays late ultimately made the difference.

Kansas City threatened the next possession. But following Warner's interception, backup safety Tarvarius Moore intercepted a pass that went off the hands of Chiefs wide receiver Tyreek Hill, giving San Francisco the ball back with 11:57 to play in regulation:


Mahomes, who was a clear favorite for Super Bowl LIV MVP, finished the game going 26-of-41 for 286 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions and a passer rating of 78.1. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, meanwhile, finished 20-of-31 for 219 yards, a touchdown, two interceptions and a passer rating of 69.2.

San Francisco chewed up some clock on its next possession following the turnover, but the drive ultimately led to the 49ers' first punt of the game.

Mahomes completed a key 44-yard play on 3rd-and-15, which gave the Chiefs life again and put them back into the red zone. Then Moore interfered Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce in the end zone, which led directly to a 1-yard pass from Mahomes to Kelce to make it 20-17 in favor of San Francisco.

And the Niners going 3-and-out the following drive didn't help matters, either.

With just over five minutes remaining, the Chiefs were back in scoring position after wide receiver Sammy Watkins beat cornerback Richard Sherman for a massive 38-yard gain. Then Mahomes found running back Damien Williams for a 5-yard pass touchdown to give the Chiefs a 24-20 lead with 2:44 remaining.

How would Garoppolo and the 49ers respond, needing a touchdown to win?

An overthrown pass to a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on third down hurt, and Garoppolo was sacked on the 4th-and-10 play. Williams would add another 38-yard touchdown to make it 31-20, while Garoppolo was intercepted on the 49ers' last offensive play of the game.

With that, the Niners ultimately came up just one game short. And congratulations to the Chiefs, who end a long, long Super Bowl drought.


SF Team Stats KC
21 First Downs 26
351 Total Yards 397
210 Pass Yards 268
141 Rush Yards 129
5 (45) Penalties (Yds) 4 (24)
2 Turnovers 2
2 (43) Punts (Avg) 2 (40)
26:47 Time of Pos. 33:13

49ers Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
J. Garoppolo 20/31 219 1 2
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
R. Mostert 12 58 1 17
D. Samuel 3 53 0 32
T. Coleman 5 28 0 17
J. Garoppolo 2 2 0 3
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
D. Samuel 5 39 0 16
G. Kittle 4 36 0 12
K. Juszczyk 3 39 1 15
E. Sanders 3 38 0 18
K. Bourne 2 42 0 26
J. Wilson 1 20 0 20
T. Coleman 1 3 0 3
R. Mostert 1 2 0 2
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
R. James Jr. 1 0 1 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
R. Gould 2/2 42 2/2 8
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
M. Wishnowsky 2 43 1 46
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
R. James Jr. 4 15 0 19
Punt Returns No Avg TDs Lg
R. James Jr. 1 0 0 0
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
J. Ward 8-2 0 0 1
F. Warner 5-2 0 1 0
K. Williams 5-1 0 0 0
D. Buckner 3-3 1.5 0 0
J. Tartt 5-0 1 0 0
E. Moseley 5-0 0 0 0
N. Bosa 3-2 1 0 1
R. Sherman 3-2 0 0 1
D. Greenlaw 2-2 0 0 0
A. Armstead 2-1 0 0 0
D. Ford 1-1 0 0 0
K. Alexander 1-0 0 0 0
E. Mitchell 0-1 0.5 0 0
S. Day 0-1 0 0 0
T. Moore 0-0 0 1 0

Chiefs Player Stats
Passing Cmp/Att Yds TDs INTs
P. Mahomes 26/42 286 2 2
Rushing Att Yds TDs Lg
Dam. Williams 17 104 1 38
P. Mahomes 9 29 1 13
T. Kelce 1 2 0 2
D. Thompson 1 0 0 0
M. Hardman 1 -6 0 -6
Receiving Rec Yds TDs Lg
T. Hill 9 105 0 44
T. Kelce 6 43 1 11
S. Watkins 5 98 0 38
Dam. Williams 4 29 1 13
B. Bell 1 9 0 9
M. Hardman 1 2 0 2
Fumbles Fum Lost Rec Yds
P. Mahomes 2 0 1 0
Dam. Williams 1 0 0 0
Kicking FG Lg XP Pts
H. Butker 1/1 31 4/4 7
Punting No Avg I20 Lg
D. Colquitt 2 50 1 51
Kickoff Returns No Avg TDs Lg
M. Hardman 3 19 0 29
Defense T-A Sck INTs FF
B. Breeland 6-1 0 1 0
D. Sorensen 4-2 0 0 0
T. Mathieu 4-2 0 0 0
K. Fuller 3-1 0 1 0
D. Nnadi 3-1 0 0 0
C. Ward 3-1 0 0 0
D. Wilson 2-2 0 0 0
A. Hitchens 1-3 0 0 0
R. Ragland 1-1 0 0 0
T. Kpassagnon 1-1 0 0 0
T. Suggs 0-2 0 0 0
F. Clark 1-0 1 0 0
K. Saunders 1-0 0 0 0
R. Fenton 1-0 0 0 0
M. Pennel 0-1 0 0 0
B. Niemann 0-1 0 0 0
C. Jones 0-1 0 0 0
  • Written by:
    Peter Panacy has been writing about the 49ers since 2011 for outlets like Bleacher Report, Niner Noise, 49ers Webzone, and is occasionally heard as a guest on San Francisco's 95.7 FM The Game and the Niners' flagship station, KNBR 680. Feel free to follow him, or direct any inquiries to his Twitter account.

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