By Matthew Feimer
With the victory celebration set for Chiefs Kingdom on Wednesday at Union Station comes another story. How did the 49ers blow a 10-point lead with 8 mins to go in the 4th quarter? The 49ers were the all-around solid team with arguably the league’s best defense. Was the downfall of the 49ers because they did everything good but nothing great?
The 49ers came in with the league’s best defense, but in a league that now favors the offense this defense was not the 85 Bears or 2000 Ravens by any means. We saw that defense blow leads to Seattle both times and had it not been for a delay of game penalty in the last game of the year, the 49ers would have lost both games. We saw a terrible performance against the Falcons and the Saints yet they still managed to hold the high octane offense of the Chiefs to only 10 points for the first 52 minutes.
On the offensive side we saw Jimmy Garoppolo, go 20-31 for 219 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 bad interceptions. For the first 3 quarters he outplayed Pat Mahomes. He was 17- 20 183 yards and a touchdown and an interception. His 4th quarter was awful. He was 3-8 for 36 yards, one huge interception, and one really bad sack. His quarterback rating was 2.8 in the 4th quarter. The second worst ever in a playoff quarter. To be fair I would say Jimmy G did not lose the game, but he certainly didn’t win it either.
You have to ask yourself why didn’t Kyle Shanahan run the ball more in the 4th quarter against that mediocre Chiefs defense? This game came down to three plays. Jimmy G missing a wide open Emmanuel Sanders which would have put away the game, Jimmy G having his pass knockdown when George Kittle was wide open on 3rd and 5, and Mahomes to Tyreek Hill on 3rd and 15. When Hill caught that pass, is when the flood gates opened up. You saw that same 49er defense that blew it against Seattle and Atlanta give up 21 unanswered points. You saw Kyle Shanahan nose deep in his play book trying to figure out what to do. You saw the 49er offense just ran out of gas.
I still think the 49ers had the better team, but the Chiefs had Pat Mahomes. Which brings back the question? Was the fact that the 49ers did everything well but nothing great the very thing that came back to haunt them? I would say yes. The game in my honest opinion came down to those 3 plays only. If one had gone San Francisco’s way, there is probably a Bay Area celebration. When you play against a guy like Mahomes, you need those plays. Go ask the Atlanta Falcons about Tom Brady and the Patriots. It will be a long winter in San Francisco.
Feature image Photo Credit: watchersonthewall