Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan on 49ers after Super Bowl LIV loss: ‘I’m so unbelievably proud of those guys’

Feb 2, 2020 at 7:56 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers' failures in Super Bowl LIV will ultimately be scrutinized and analyzed for months, perhaps years, especially as the Niners held a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs in the fourth quarter.

Only to see the Chiefs score 21 unanswered points en route to the 31-20 victory.

Needless to say, head coach Kyle Shanahan wasn't overly enthusiastic when he met up with Fox Sports' Erin Andrews after the game's conclusion. But he still managed to hold his composure, sharing his message to the team with Andrews.

"Just how proud of them I am," Shanahan responded when Andrews asked what his remarks were. "Those guys are hurting in there just like I am. We all are right now. It's tough when you lose a Super Bowl. But I'm so unbelievably proud of those guys and what they've done all year. I've been coaching a while, and this is as special a group as I've been around.

"It's tough that it had to end today and in the way it did, but this team will have a special place in my heart forever."

On the positive side of things, few expected the Niners would even be in a position to win Super Bowl LIV. A March 2019 prediction set the over/under for San Francisco at nine wins. The 49ers won 13 games, secured the No. 1 seed in the NFC and dominated through the playoffs before collapsing in the fourth quarter against Kansas City.

That's the bad part, though. And there will be more, including some questionable play calling from Shanahan towards the end of the first half. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also overthrew wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on what would have been a go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

Those little things matter, and the Chiefs were much better in that regard. Especially late.

"We just didn't get it done when we got the ball," Shanahan said, emphasizing when the Chiefs cut the deficit to 20-17 and the 49ers got the ball back, only to go 3-and-out. "We came up short on a couple of plays, that one tip [by Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones] really got us when we thought we had a chance. They converted a big 3rd-and-15. They got a huge [pass interference] call that got them a big explosive [play]. Then when we had to answer, we didn't.

"We had our chance there at the end, made some good plays and just missed them."

What's going to be troubling are the comparisons to the 49ers' collapse in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV. And while he wasn't entirely to blame back in February of 2017 when the Atlanta Falcons, with whom Shanahan was the offensive coordinator, blew a 28-3 lead to the New England Patriots, the fact that both Atlanta and San Francisco have been outscored 38-0 in the fourth quarter of those two Super Bowls is a bit concerning.

The good part, however, is Shanahan's 49ers are still young and developing. Yes, there are going to be challenges this offseason. But in many ways, the Niners reached contender status a year earlier than many expected.

Shanahan and his staff should at least be proud of that.
  • 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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