Maiocco Overreactions

49ers overreactions: Shanahan's legacy on line in Super Bowl LVIII?

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It has been quite a ride for 49ers overreactions.

And, finally, we have reached the end of the line.

The 49ers have made it to the final game of the season: Super Bowl LVIII against the mighty Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

We experienced a little bit of everything this season.

We had measured responses on topics of the coaching, roster, pass defense and offensive line.

It was suggested last month that coach Kyle Shanahan and Pro Bowl quarterback Brock Purdy lacked what it takes to pull off come-from-behind victories. That was proven wrong in the 49ers’ two playoff victories.

Even in our latest round of submissions following the 49ers’ 34-31 victory over the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game, many of the old themes were re-elevated to urgent status.

Fans are still concerned about rookie kicker Jake Moody and a defense that has looked nowhere near dominant down the stretch of the season.

This is it.

Everything figures to be magnified on Super Bowl Sunday, and that includes these final 49ers overreactions of the season:

Kyle Shanahan’s legacy will be determined by the outcome of this game! (Mario C.)

Overreaction? No … and yes.

If the 49ers figure out a way to win this game against a future Hall of Fame coach and quarterback, Shanahan’s status in the history of the game will be secure.

After all, there are not many people on this planet who own the title of Super Bowl-winning head coach.

But, of course, if the 49ers do not finish the job, the breathless hot-take artists on YouTube will declare, “See, Shanahan did not win the big one and he never will!”

The same things were said about Andy Reid not long ago.

Reid’s teams in Philadelphia and Kansas City qualified for the playoffs 14 times in his first 20 years as an NFL head coach and made it to the Super Bowl only once — and that ended with a loss.

At 61, Reid finally broke through (against the 49ers), and now he seemingly can’t stop winning championships.

So while it might seem as if this is Shanahan's final chance, it is probably not going to be the last good team he ever coaches.

However, this is the 49ers’ next chance. And there are also no guarantees his team will ever make it back.

Brock Purdy is the best game manager that ever managed a game. (Nathan Paul M.)

Overreaction? No.

The first time I can remember hearing the term "game manager" it was used derisively to criticize Alex Smith.

Is Purdy better than Alex Smith? We would not say that quite yet. But Purdy is definitely better at this stage in his career than Smith in his second NFL season.

With Purdy at quarterback, the 49ers accomplished the rare feat of going 6-0 against the other NFC playoff teams. In order, the 49ers won games against the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers and Lions.

Purdy did not do it alone, but as many of his teammates have said, he is the main reason the 49ers have advanced this far.

The shirt I put on at halftime is a lucky shirt and won us the game (Jon V.)

Overreaction? No.

Hey, folks, everything matters.

A lot of different things (including coaching decisions on both sides) had to line up perfectly for the 49ers to pull off the comeback win.

If the second half were played again — and you did not have on your lucky shirt — the odds of the 49ers winning would be slim.

The D-line makes way too much money to be as bad as they have been lately (Michael G.)

Overreaction? No.

On paper, the unit of Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead and Chase Young should be the best front four in the NFL.

Bosa is one of the NFL's best, and he’s been phenomenal in the 49ers’ two playoff victories.

Armstead has worked his way back after missing an extended period late in the season due to foot and knee issues.

Hargrave and Young have both made some plays, but Young has struggled with consistency in all phases.

It all comes down to one game, and how this group ultimately will be judged comes down to how they perform against Kansas City.

The 49ers have no one who can cover Travis Kelce. (Jim S.)

Overreaction? Yes.

The 49ers are set up better than most teams when it comes to covering top-flight tight ends because of swift linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw patrolling the middle of the field.

But, as noted in the above statement, Kelce is the biggest challenge the 49ers will ever face — especially when considering Patrick Mahomes is the one delivering the passes.

The 49ers faced some of the top stat-producing tight ends in the NFL this season, and they mostly did a good job.

They completely shut down David Njoku, Evan Engram, Jake Ferguson and Trey McBride (once), but Sam LaPorta, T.J. Hockenson and McBride (once) had anywhere from 86 to 102 receiving yards.

In 19 games, the 49ers surrendered only three touchdown receptions to tight ends: Pittsburgh’s Pat Freiermuth, Seattle’s Colby Parkinson and Green Bay’s Tucker Kraft.

The 49ers do not figure to deploy single coverage against Kelce often in this game, but there will be times. Warner and Greenlaw, as well as safeties Tashaun Gipson and Ji’Ayir Brown, will face huge challenges to keep Kansas City’s two best players from teaming up to take over this game.

Steve Wilks is a bad DC and needs to be fired at the end of the season no matter what. (Tim J.)

Overreaction? Yes . . . but.

Steve Wilks is not a bad defensive coordinator.

It can be debated whether he was the best fit for the 49ers, though.

After all, the 49ers had their way of doing things under previous defensive coordinators Robert Saleh and DeMeco Ryans. Shanahan went outside the system to hire Wilks with the idea that Wilks could bring in new ideas to keep the team’s defense evolving.

There were rough patches along the way, for sure. Currently, the obvious weakness is the run defense.

But let’s also not gloss over what Wilks has brought to the pass defense. Opposing quarterbacks’ passer rating against the 49ers during the regular season was a lowly 79.2.

The 49ers collected 22 interceptions, led by Charvarius Ward’s five picks. He took another step in his career, earning his first Pro Bowl recognition and second-team All-Pro.

You can be sure Shanahan will hold these conversations with every assistant coach, including Wilks. They will meet after the season and go through what happened this season and talk about the future.

What does the future hold for Wilks and the 49ers? At this point, there is no indication whether both sides will agree to run it back for another season.

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