A good friend proposed a scenario to me after 49ers head coach Beto O’ Rourke (does anyone else see the resemblance?) flat out forgot how to coach.
The scenario is: You’re up by 3 in the Super Bowl with 6 minutes to go. You’ve been averaging 8 yards a carry on the ground. On 1st down, your RB runs for 5 yards making it 2nd and 5. Are you going to run the ball again or throw it?
Still fuming from last night’s ending, I replied with a few expletives then said “even if I had Jesus Christ as my QB I’d still run the ball.” Everyone and their mother knows pretty boy Jimmy Garoppolo isn’t exactly God’s gift to QB, however after watching the 9ers play calling in the 4th quarter I’m starting to question whether Kyle Shanahan actually did think he had our Lord and Savior under center.
For the first 3 quarters, the Niners found themselves with a 20-10 lead mainly due to a balanced offensive effort which featured a rushing attack that averaged over 6.4 yards per carry for the game. Raheem Mostert, Tevin Coleman, and Deebo Samuel were providing a potent rushing attack and Jimmy G was making the throws he needed to make. Through this offensive scheme, the Niners offense was keeping the vaunted Chiefs offense off the field. By consistently gaining yards by running the football, the Niners were controlling the game by chewing large chunks of time off the clock each possession.
Yet, with a 10-point lead with 11 minutes to play in the 4th quarter and the Lombardi Trophy within arm’s reach, the 49ers ran 5 plays: 2 runs and 3 passes. After a 1st down run for a yard, Coach Shanahan called a pass play which wound up incomplete, stopping the clock in the meantime. After a false start which made it 3rd and 14, Shanahan was forced to call another pass play which wound up with Jimmy G scrambling for 3 yards. After a Niners punt, Patrick Mahomes and Co. marched right down the field and promptly scored a touchdown making the score 20-17. With 6 minutes to play and the ball, the Niners gained 5 yards on a 1st down rush from Mostert. Now, any human being with half of a functioning brain would run the ball the next play. But not Shanahan. No, that clown decided to call a pass play on 2nd and 5. On a day when the Chiefs hadn’t shown they were capable of stopping the run, Kyle Shanahan decides to pass the ball on the most important 2nd down of the game. A fun fact for the crowd out there, the Niners had 1 negative rush and it was their 1st play of the game for -1 yard. Why for Heaven’s sake would you throw the ball on 2nd down? In the words of the great Sandra Bullock in the movie The Blind Side “Enough with the trick plays Burt! Run the dang ball!!!!”
Run the freaking ball and watch the clock just keep ticking. Honestly, the worst thing that could happen is Mostert rushes for no gain. That sets up a 3rd and 5 but keeps the clock running. And where the heck was Deebo Samuel in all of this? A pivotal part of the 1st 3 quarters, the most athletic man on the Niners was simply taken out of the game plan in the 4th quarter. I would honestly wonder if Shanahan had taken the Chiefs -1.5 but then I remembered he has another total 4th quarter meltdown on his resume. Lest we forget he was the offensive mastermind behind the 2016-2017 Atlanta Falcons, the team that would go on to blow a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl. Even in that game, Shanahan completely abandoned the game plan when he needed to stick to it the most. By refusing to stick to the rushing game in the 4th quarter, head coach Kyle Shanahan frankly cost his team a Super Bowl.
The 49ers have a great young core and will most certainly be back in the big game soon. However, as a rental fan for the night Kyle Shanahan completely pissed me off last night with his abhorrent play calling in the 4th quarter.