Kyle Shanahan defends Jimmy Garoppolo following Super Bowl loss


Jimmy Garoppolo did not have the greatest Super Bowl, particularly in the fourth quarter.

San Francisco had a 10-point lead with six minutes left in the game, but ultimately fell 31-20 to the Chiefs. In the final 15 minutes, Garoppolo was 3-of-11 with 36 yards and an interception.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said his opinion of Garoppolo hasn't changed.

"Same as it was the day before the Super Bowl," he said. "There's no difference. He was on his way close to a Super Bowl MVP and we all know we didn't ... make those plays at the end but we made those plays all year, our whole team, that's one of the reasons we were there. Whenever you don't make those plays at the end of the game like that, first and foremost, the quarterback's going to get attacked and then usually the play-caller. We understand that's how it goes."

Shanahan also pointed out despite being 28 years old, Garoppolo doesn't have a whole lot of experience. In fact, Baker Mayfield has started more games than he has.

"Jimmy's one of the main reasons we got to the Super Bowl," he said. "He overcame a lot. This is his first year in his career going through an entire NFL season. So, he still doesn't have as many starts and stuff as Baker Mayfield. I think he had a hell of a first year truly playing the position, especially coming off (a torn) ACL where you have to fight through that a ton as a quarterback where your rhythm and everything is not there at the beginning of the year.

"For him to be like that and to not let the pressure get to him and to improve as the year went I think says a ton about Jimmy. I can't tell you how much I love coaching the guy as a player and as a person this year."

As for Shanahan's decision not to call a timeout at the end of the first half to get more time on the 49ers' final drive, he stood by it days later.

"I think that was one of the reasons we were up 10 points going into the fourth quarter," he said. "Absolutely wouldn't have called a timeout at that time because we were expecting to be backed up inside the 10. We probably should have been at the 1, if they didn't mess that play up. I was as confident as what we did in that situation as anything we've done all year, and I mean that's strongly.

"That's something you work at all two weeks, studying that team, what they're capable of doing. You're not going to give the ball back to them, no matter what in that situation. The way he did a third-and-15 at the end of the game is how he does a two-minute drive. I felt extremely good with how we went. Not using the timeout there was a no brainer"