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Super Bowl 54: Shanahan’s offense fails late again

The 49ers sputter in the fourth quarter and fail to protect a 10-point lead
Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons offensive coordinator when Atlanta blew a big lead in a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots three years ago. Sunday, the 49ers offense stumbled in the fourth quarter and San Francisco blew a 10-point lead. [MATT YORK  |  AP]
Kyle Shanahan was the Falcons offensive coordinator when Atlanta blew a big lead in a Super Bowl loss to the Patriots three years ago. Sunday, the 49ers offense stumbled in the fourth quarter and San Francisco blew a 10-point lead. [MATT YORK | AP]
Published Feb. 3
Updated Feb. 3

MIAMI GARDENS — Kyle Shanahan will now have another Super Bowl collapse to answer questions about.

After being peppered all week by reporters seeking to rehash that blown 28-3 lead to New England three years ago when Shanahan was offensive coordinator in Atlanta, Shanahan’s first trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach ended in another late-game meltdown.

The 49ers became the third team in Super Bowl history to give up a 10-point lead in the second half when they blew a 20-10 advantage and lost 31-20 to the Chiefs in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday night.

In two trips to the Super Bowl, Shanahan’s teams have been outscored 46-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime.

“Those guys are hurting in there, just like I am,” Shanahan said. “We all are (hurting) right now. It’s tough when you lose a Super Bowl, but I’m so unbelievably proud of those guys, what they’ve done all year. I’ve been coaching a while and it’s as special a group as I’ve ever been around. It’s tough that it had to end today in the way it did.”

Shanahan has now had seven drives as a play-caller in the fourth quarter of Super Bowls and his teams have four punts, two turnovers, one failed fourth down and six first downs.

“We just didn’t get it done when we got the ball,” Shanahan said. “Came up short on a just couple plays. We had our chance a little bit there at the end, and they made some good plays, and we just missed them.”

The 49ers appeared to be firmly in control when they intercepted Patrick Mahomes for a second time with 11:57 to play and a 10-point lead.

But then the coach known as perhaps one of the league’s most innovative play-callers couldn’t dial up the right plays to seal the win.

Jimmy Garoppolo completed a 12-yard pass to George Kittle for a first down with less than 11 minutes to play. But Raheem Mostert was stopped for 1 yard, Garoppolo threw an incompletion on second down and then was forced into a short scramble on third down following a false start on Joe Staley.

That forced a punt and Mahomes led an 83-yard drive that got the Chiefs back into the game.

The 49ers still had a chance to seal it with a productive drive but a first down run followed by two incompletions gave the Chiefs the ball back again.

Mahomes led another touchdown drive to give the Chiefs a 24-20 lead, seemingly setting the stage for Garoppolo to lead a late-game comeback in the final 2:39. The 49ers moved the ball across midfield following the two-minute warning before three straight incompletions and a fourth-down sack ended the chance for Shanahan to join his father, Mike, as the only father-son Super Bowl champion coaches.

“We didn’t take our opportunities,” Kittle said. “I could give you every cliche in the book — we just didn’t get it done.”

The Chiefs added a late touchdown.

“Give them credit. They’re a good team,’’ Garoppolo said.

A sellout with a twist

Attendance for the Super Bowl was 62,417. In terms of official numbers, that is the second-lowest attendance in the game’s history behind Super Bowl 1 — which drew 61,946 and didn’t sell out.

Sunday’s game was a sellout, though was much lower than the 74,059 who came to the game the last time it was at the Dolphins’ home stadium. Dolphins owner Stephen Ross spent more than $500 million refurbishing and remodeling the stadium since, and one thing he did was lower the capacity considerably.

Immaculate choice

Fans voted the Immaculate Reception as the greatest moment of the NFL’s first 100 years. A Terry Bradshaw pass was deflected and scooped up by Franco Harris, who went 60 yards for a touchdown in a 13-7 win over the Raiders in an AFC division game at Three Rivers Stadium in December 1972.

The rest of the final four, in order: the Helmet Catch by David Tyree on a pass from Eli Manning in the 2008 Super Bowl as the Giants denied New England both a 19-0 season and the Lombardi Trophy; The Catch, Dwight Clark’s touchdown reception in the final minute of the 49ers’ win over the Cowboys in the 1981 NFC Championship Game at Candlestick Park; and Miami’s perfect season in 1972.

Local update

Former Robinson standout Byron Pringle, a Chiefs receiver and special teams star, made a tackle on the opening-possession punt and had two other tackles. Pringle committed a holding penalty on a third-quarter kickoff return, with the Chiefs starting the drive on their 9. The 49ers dressed four running backs for the first time this season, including former Nature Coast Tech standout Matt Breida, who didn’t touch the ball. San Francisco linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, a former Hillsborough standout, was inactive.

Stadium name game

This was the 11th time that the Miami area played host to the Super Bowl. The first five were at the now-demolished Orange Bowl in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, and the other six have been in Miami Gardens — inside the building now called Hard Rock Stadium.

Scroll through the list of Super Bowl sites, though, and it might seem like South Florida has a lot of stadiums. Not true. Each of the last five Super Bowls in Miami Gardens have been with the stadium bearing a different name: Joe Robbie Stadium in 1995, Pro Player Stadium in 1999, Dolphin Stadium in 2007, Sun Life Stadium in 2010 and now, Hard Rock.

The stadium has had nine different names in all since opening in 1987. In addition to the five names that it had as a Super Bowl host, there was Pro Player Park, Dolphins Stadium (which immediately preceded Dolphin Stadium), Land Shark Stadium and, for six months in 2016, it was called New Miami Stadium.

Commercial highlights

• Tom Brady ran a Super Bowl trick play without putting on a uniform.

The 42-year-old longtime Patriots quarterback can become an unrestricted free agent for the first time in his career when his contract ends in March, and he gave New England a fright in a commercial during the first half.

“They say all good things must come to an end, that the best just know when to walk away,” Brady said in the ad, walking through an empty football stadium and hinting at a possible retirement.

Brady says he has a major announcement, the music cuts out — and then he reveals he’s reading a script for Hulu.

“Me,” Brady adds, “I’m not going anywhere.”

• A tinge of weirdness crept into the barrage of humor and celebrities.

Quicken Loans Rocket Mortgage had an unsettling ad that showed “Aquaman” Jason Momoa, known for his buff physique, saying home is a place where he can “be himself,” as he strips off his muscles and hair to reveal his “true” physique: skinny and bald. TurboTax tried to tie doing taxes into a CGI-enhanced dance of wobbling knees to a bouncy song, All People Are Tax People.

Snickers imagined a world where people sing on a hilltop (an homage to a famous “Hilltop” Coke ad) about digging a giant hole and putting a giant Snickers in it because the “world is out of sorts.”

Numbers of the day

1 person resoundly booed during a ceremony celebrating NFL greats — Patriots coach Bill Belichick

205 regular-season and playoff victories for Marty Schottenheimer, who replaces Andy Reid as the winningest coach without a Super Bowl title; Reid got win No. 222 Sunday

Chargers extend Lynn

San Diego coach Anthony Lynn signed an extension beyond the 2020 season, according to reports. Lynn, 26-22 in three years, had one season left on the contract he signed when hired in January 2017. The length of his extension was not known.


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