The 49ers tested Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes' ability in clutch moments, and it came back to bite them in their gut-wrenching Super Bowl LVII loss on Sunday.
San Francisco's decision to get the ball after winning the overtime coin toss confused the general NFL world, while encouraging some Chiefs players.
“Yeah, as a defensive player, I think it's a little disrespectful,” Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton told reporters after Kansas City's 25-22 Super Bowl victory. A minute and a half. So, the legs are a little tired. Yes, that is part of it.
While choosing to take the ball on second down seems like the obvious right choice under the NFL's new overtime playoff rules, which give both teams a fair chance at the ball, San Francisco went against the general consensus.
Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the loss that he had no regrets about his decision, saying they would have preferred the “third” ball if both teams were matched up and scored.
San Francisco's rationalization of the Chiefs' defense was heartbreaking for Chris Jones.
“They're crazy, they're crazy,” Jones said postgame. “Because the overtime rules have changed for both teams to get the ball regardless of who scores. So, first of all, you want to let the other team get the ball and they have to hold the three and stop, so you know what you got. Or if you stop. And they, they punch it. , then all you have to do is kick three.
“… I think we talked about it when we went to the TV break and they were at the 25. No matter what we did, we couldn't let them score. If we could hold them to three, the game was won, and we were able to do that.”
The 49ers' opening drive of overtime was capped by a Jake Moody field goal to take a 22-19 lead. But Mahomes only shined brighter under pressure, responding with a game-winning, 75-yard touchdown drive to secure back-to-back championships for Kansas City.
When the 49ers elected to get the ball to open the extra quarter, Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hartman shared what was going through their heads.
“I thought the layoff was the right thing to do, but when they got the ball, we knew what we had to do,” Hartman said. “It was just kind of the thing. They kicked a field goal and we looked at each other and thought let's score. It's time to score and let's win this game.
“That was our intention, and we left it at that.”
On top of the players weighing San Francisco's decision, many Sports analysts wasted no time He questioned Shanahan and the 49ers the next morning.
“Honestly, I like the ball second because I like to know what I need,” ESPN's Shannon Sharp said on Monday's “First Take.” “And guess what? If I don't get it on third down, I have to go on fourth down because I get the extra down. That's the difference. Kyle Shanahan, he made the field goal, but if he knew he needed a touchdown, he'd go for it. It's the old rules. Not like. It's the postseason. Everybody's going to get possessions. So scoring first doesn't matter.
“I'll be procrastinating because I want to know what Patrick Mahomes has done so I have a chance to match or exceed what he's done.”
Next to Sharpe is ESPN's Stephen A. Smith sat down and was heavily criticized for his choice of words, calling San Francisco's decision and its players' lack of knowledge of the new rules “a smear on the entire organization,” and “embarrassing.” and a “neglect of duty.”
But Shanahan said he doesn't regret the decision in the loss, and that it may take some time, but he hopes the 49ers can shake off the painful loss and get back to their quest for the Sixers in 2024.
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