Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers were in prime position to win Super Bowl LIV, leading by two scores in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs, but led by Patrick Mahomes, Kansas City scored touchdowns on its last three possessions (not including the final one) to come away with a 31-20 win.
Garoppolo actually outplayed Mahomes, until the final 15 minutes.
In the fourth quarter, Mahomes was 10-for-17 with 141 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Garoppolo was just 3-for-11 with 36 yards and an interception. The 49ers QB had a chance to win the game down by four with 2:39 to play, but the offense stalled at midfield and ended up by turning the ball over on downs.
Overall, Garoppolo finished 20-for-31 with 219 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Meanwhile, Mahomes, who was named MVP, was 26-for-42 with 286 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
“It’s tough," Garoppolo said to reporters afterwards. "Never had this feeling before so it’s kind of an unreal feeling. But it is what it is.”
He added: “Yeah that was an opportunity for us. We just didn’t take advantage of it. Especially right after the turnover. I think we all kinda felt the same way coming off after that drive. It was tough. But you’ve gotta give the Chiefs some credit. They’re a good team.”
Garoppolo said the Kansas City defense really didn't do anything different.
“No, nothing felt different," he said. "Just didn’t make the plays we normally make. Gotta give them some credit. The Chiefs, they’re a good team, played a hell of a game, and they were the better team today."
Despite the loss, the 49ers are returning a number of key contributors and have a good chance to compete for a Super Bowl again next year.
“You can see the guys’ eyes in there. It means something to guys. It means you’ve got guys who care about what they’re doing. Guys who care about each other," he said. "So we’re a young team. We’ve got a very bright future. So we’ve gotta take this in stride, remember this feeling, and let it fuel us in the offseason.”
Personally, it was all a learning experience for the quarterback, who was in his first full season as a starter.
“I think there’s a lot of things you can learn from this game," Garoppolo said. "Just things you can use in the future. First full season, going to the Super Bowl and everything, it was a hell of a ride, but at the end of the day people just remember the wins and losses.”