Kyle Shanahan has cost another team a Super Bowl that they had well in their grasps.
It literally never felt like Kansas City was in control of yesterday’s game. Maybe in the last three minutes after Damien Williams ripped off a long touchdown, but for the most part, San Francisco was the dominant force they had been throughout the playoffs. The Niners were running the ball with ease, their pass rush was whipping Kansas City’s O-Line all game, and Patrick Mahomes was easily having the worst game of his NFL Playoff Career — leading to a double-digit lead for Kyle Shanahan in the fourth quarter.
Let’s diagnose the numbers. If you just saw the stat sheet, you’d think the Niners won by multiple scores. Even then, a lot of this just doesn’t make sense. George Kittle’s questionable PI call hurt. Other than that, San Francisco was averaging 6.4 yards per carry. So they pounded the rock, right? Wrong. They only ran the ball 22 times and threw it 31 — resulting in two Jimmy G picks. That is not even the most egregious mistake. With the game tied and about two minutes left in the first half, Shanahan decided to play scared with quite literally one of the best QBs we have ever seen staring him down on the other sideline. Kittle’s PI call was suspect — yes — but you have to go for points there. And even with hands-down the dumbest coaching move Shanahan’s made since Super Bowl 50, the Niners were still in command.
We’re talking about a guy who has had a combined 48-16 lead in two Super Bowls and lost both games.
It’s clear that the loss to the Patriots still haunts Kyle. He’s tried to make light of it, but I think Chase really hit the nail on the head on Twitter.
For people who don’t think 28-3 lingers in the head of Kyle Shanahan daily: He called a play up 16 in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl that required Devonta Freeman to block a Pro-Bowler 1-on-1… Tonight he wouldn’t even try to score tied with two minutes in the first half.
— SportsTalkATL.com (@SportsTalkATL) February 3, 2020
Shanahan coached scared. The Falcons offense he was in command of was airing out the ball with a lead regularly. This 49ers team was a run-first west coast system, and Shanny tried to overcorrect or overcompensate, which resulted in blowing another lead when he had the game won. Atlanta fans may feel a sense of vindication, but once again, Kyle Shanahan is left wondering what went wrong.