Fine margins leave a lifetime of Super Bowl what ifs for San Francisco 49ers

Brock Purdy played a largely mistake-free game but could not find a way to victory.Photograph: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/AP

Losing a Super Bowl always stings. For the San Francisco 49ers, losing 25-22 to the Kansas City Chiefs in overtime on Sunday will hurt more than most. It will leave a lifetime of ‘ifs’.

If not for Jake Moody’s missed extra point.

If not for Harrison Butker’s 57-yard field goal.

If not for a punt ricocheting off the heel of Darrell Luter Jr.

If not for Dre Greenlaw’s injury.

If not for the bounce of a fumble.

If not for abandoning the run in the third-quarter.

If not for a bizarre fourth-quarter plan on defense.

If not for electing to receive the ball first in overtime.

If not for Patrick Mahomes.

Most Super Bowls are decided by fine margins. Lady luck always plays a role. But even by the typical standards, Sunday’s game was something different. Squint hard enough, and the Niners are champions today, mapping out their parade route. Instead, they’re the NFL’s almost team; a secondary character in the Chiefs’ dynastic story.

“There’s no right words right now,” Niners coach Kyle Shanahan said after the game. “It hurts.”

This should have been their time, that’s what will hurt most of all. The Chiefs were flawed contenders, with a rickety offense propped up by one of the league’s best defenses. Jump out to an early lead, and the game was there for the taking.

And jump out they did. In the first quarter, a San Francisco defense that had tailed off over the course of the season was at its suffocating best. When they needed big plays to get the Chiefs offense off the field, San Francisco’s pass-rush came crashing home. They held the Chiefs’ to three points before Usher had time to rollerskate across the stage for the half-time show.

More than anything, the 49ers got the game they hoped for from Brock Purdy. Poised, accurate and playing his part as creator, Purdy looked comfortable on his sport’s biggest stage. For prolonged…

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Author : The Guardian

Publish date : 2024-02-12 07:14:03

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