Chiefs' Tyrann Mathieu ‘grateful' Kyle Shanahan, 49ers abandoned run game


Kyle Shanahan is going to be questioned a lot, and frankly, it will be deserved.

The 49ers' coach had his team in position to win Super Bowl LIV, leading 20-10 with 11:57 remaining in the fourth quarter after safety Tarvarius Moore intercepted Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and returned the ball to San Francisco's own 20-yard-line. Up to that point in the game, the 49ers had averaged over 6.2 yards per rush in building their advantage.

But for whatever reason, Shanahan diverted from that strategy as he attempted to close out the victory. Of the eight plays over the 49ers' next two drives, San Francisco attempted only three rushes compared to five pass attempts. The two drives gained a combined 22 yards, took only 4:07 off the clock and resulted in two punts. The Chiefs took far better advantage of their first two drives after the interception, putting together a 10-play, 83-yard drive and a seven-play, 65-yard drive, both of which resulted in touchdowns to put Kansas City in front, 24-20, with less than three minutes left in the game.

Those would prove to be the decisive scores in the contest, as the Chiefs would go on to defeat the 49ers by a score of 31-20. Afterward, Kansas City defensive back Tyrann Mathieu expressed his gratitude for San Francisco's decision to favor the pass over the run down the stretch.

"We were grateful they got out of the run and started to throw the ball," he said.

When asked after the loss as to the thinking behind those decisions, Shanahan insisted he felt the team needed to prioritize getting first downs over burning clock. Obviously, due to the final result, that's going to be questioned. It's also not the first time Shanahan has ended up on the wrong side of an historic come-from-behind victory, as he was the Atlanta Falcons' offensive coordinator when they blew a 28-3 lead over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI.

[RELATED: Shanahan explains not calling timeout late in first half]

The 49ers certainly had their chances to ice the game away, but clearly, they came up short. Meanwhile, the Chiefs didn't, and now, they're Super Bowl champions. In winning, Kansas City coach Andy Reid got off the schneid after a postseason career filled with some questionable decisions. Shanahan will have to wait at least another year to do the same.

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