For the first three-quarters of Super Bowl 54, the San Francisco 49ers played the game that got them to Miami. They ran the ball on the outside at a frenetic pace, their defensive line was getting to Patrick Mahomes, and play-action passing was rolling for Jimmy Garoppolo.
The fourth quarter came with a 20-10 lead in favor of the 49ers. However, the 2019 NFL Most Valuable Player arrived at the party, mixed with some questionable play-calling from the San Francisco head coach leading to the 49ers’ demise.
The 49ers final four offensive players resulted in either a punt, turnover on downs, or interception, giving Mahomes more opportunities to weave a comeback.
After completing two improbable third downs on the same drive, Mahomes carried the Chiefs in the final period of the Super Bowl. Leading three consecutive scoring drives, flipping the 49ers chances at a sixth Lombardi Trophy and sealing a Super Bowl victory for Kansas City, 31-20.
With their back against the wall at any moment in the season, Garoppolo has elevated his game to lead the 49ers in several game-winning drives. With the door open for the 49ers to mount a comeback of their own, Garoppolo cratered.
Shanahan has been one of the critical reasons the 49ers jumped from a 4-12 season. However, he will now have to deal with losing a 28-3 lead as a coordinator in the Super Bowl, and now suffering a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter in the big game as a head coach.