SANTA CLARA — Fred Warner expects plenty of comparisons of the 49ers' Super Bowl LIV loss to their Super Bowl LVIII rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs in a little more than a week.
While Warner believes it's a different scenario with mostly different rosters, one element of that Super Bowl in Miami still haunts San Francisco's All-Pro linebacker and will affect how he plays in the rematch against Kansas City.
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"We're up by 10 points late in the game, and I'm thinking, 'Hey, we're about to win us a Super Bowl,' " Warner recalled Thursday. "And that thing switched pretty quick, you know? That scarred me for life because to this day, if it's a preseason, regular-season, playoff game, I never start getting excited until that clock is zero."
Back in 2019, the 49ers dominated their playoff games as well as the first three quarters of their postseason finale. Warner and Co. beat the Minnesota Vikings 27-10 in the divisional round before getting past the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game with a 37-20 victory.
In the Super Bowl, the 49ers again seemed to be rolling with a 10-point lead over the Chiefs more than midway through the fourth quarter. That's when Patrick Mahomes went to work, leading the Chiefs to score 21 unanswered points in the final six minutes of the game.
"That's got to be the mindset," Warner said. "Playing all the way to the very end because they got a special guy back there throwing the football, and we got to do our best to stop him."
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers' 2023 playoff path has been a much different journey, with San Francisco managing come-from-behind wins two games in a row. Maybe the 49ers are more battle-tested and mature, but one thing is certain: The veterans in the locker room will make sure everyone understands the sense of urgency and effort needed to win through the entire game.
"I'm sure that's going to get built up all week, the rematch, and that sort of thing," Warner said. "At the end of the day, it's two completely different teams because there are a lot of different faces on each side of the ball.
"I think we just got to treat this as it is," Warner added. "We just got to make sure we prepare the right way and we're ready to go on Sunday. You got to play a full 60 minutes."
The 49ers returned to the practice field Thursday to start installing their Super Bowl game plan. They will travel Sunday to Las Vegas, where they will have a week to fine-tune their game before kickoff on Sunday, Feb. 11, at 3:30 p.m. PT.