The 49ers tested Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes’ gripping ability, and that backfired in their heartbreaking loss in Super Bowl LVIII on Sunday.
San Francisco’s decision to take the ball after winning the coin toss in overtime confused the wider NFL world and at the same time motivated some Chiefs players.
“Yeah, I think as a defensive player, it’s a little disrespectful,” Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton told reporters after Kansas City’s 25-22 victory in the Super Bowl. “But at the same time, you understand that his defense was out there the whole last game.” minute and a half. So his legs are a little tired. Yes, that’s part of it.”
While choosing to receive the ball second clearly seemed like the right choice for most viewers given the NFL’s new overtime playoff rules, which allow both teams a fair chance with the ball, San Francisco went against of the general consensus.
Kyle Shanahan told reporters after the loss that he did not regret his decision and stated that they wanted the ball “third” if both teams equalized and scored.
San Francisco’s reasoning was mind-boggling to Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones.
“They’re crazy, they’re crazy,” Jones said after the game. “Because the rules of overtime have changed, where both teams receive the ball no matter who scores. So originally, you want to let the other team receive the ball, prevent them from holding the three, so you know what you have. Or If you stop doing it, they, they kick it, so all you have to do is kick three.
“…I think we talked about that when we went to the TV break and they were at 25. Whatever we do, we can’t let them score. If we can keep them within three, this game is won, and we were able to do that.”
The 49ers’ first overtime drive resulted in a Jake Moody field goal that gave them a 22-19 lead. But Mahomes only shined brighter under pressure, leading a game-winning 75-yard touchdown in response to securing back-to-back championships for Kansas City.
Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman shared what was going through their heads when the 49ers elected to receive the ball to open the extra quarter.
“I thought the right thing to do was to defer, but when they got the ball, we knew what we had to do as an offense,” Hardman said. “It’s one of those things. They kicked the field goal, we looked at each other and thought, we’re going to score. It’s time to score and win this game.
“That was our mentality the whole way, and we abandoned it.”
In addition to the players who weigh in on San Francisco’s decision, several Sports analysts wasted no time. questioning Shanahan and the 49ers the next morning.
“Honestly, I like the second ball because I want to know what I need,” ESPN’s Shannon Sharpe said Monday on “First Take.” “And guess what? I get an extra down because I can go for it on fourth down if I didn’t get it on third. And that was the difference. Kyle Shanahan, he scored the field goal, but if I had known, I needed a touchdown, He’s going for it. It’s not like the old rules. It’s the postseason. Everyone is going to have a possession. So scoring first doesn’t matter.
“I would have put it off because I need to know what Patrick Mahomes did to have a chance to match or surpass what he did.”
Sitting next to Sharpe was ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, who was more critical of his choice of words, calling San Francisco’s decision and its players’ lack of knowledge of the new rules as “a smear on the entire community.” organization”, “shameful”. and a “dereliction of duty.”
But Shanahan said he has no regrets about his decision-making in defeat, and it might take some time, but the 49ers will hope to shake off this painful loss and return to their Quest for Six in 2024.