Kyle Shanahan

Shanahan doesn't regret end-of-half clock management vs. Packers

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — Anybody who has watched the 49ers under coach Kyle Shanahan knew exactly how he would manage the final minutes of the first half of San Francisco's NFC divisional playoff round win over the Packers.

Time did not get away from the 49ers before kicker Jake Moody was sent out for a 48-yard field goal attempt that was blocked.

Instead, Shanahan worked the end of the first half just as he routinely has done in the past and almost exactly as he planned.

“We handled it the way we wanted to,” Shanahan said on Thursday. “We ended up kicking it on fourth down, didn’t we?

“When you’re thinking about it, it’s not time, it’s downs. So the plays would’ve been the same.”

The 49ers took over at their own 25-yard line with 4:09 remaining in the first half. San Francisco held a 7-6 lead, and Shanahan’s top priority was to make sure the Packers did not get the ball back before the end of the half.

Shanahan's squad was scheduled to receive the kickoff to open the second half. Any time the 49ers control the ball for the final minutes of the first half and are scheduled to receive the kickoff to open the third quarter, Shanahan refers to that as “lapping” the opponent.

He says the research shows the ability to control the ball in that middle part of the game becomes a huge factor that can lead to victories. Shanahan cited the 49ers’ success since 2019 and the 20 years of NFL analysis.

So his mindset was to do everything possible to keep the Packers' offense from taking the field for the remainder of the first half.

The 49ers ran the clock to the two-minute warning on just three offensive plays while picking up one first down.

On the first play after the two-minute warning, quarterback Brock Purdy’s pass to Christian McCaffrey went for 9 yards and a first down.

The 49ers continued to let the clock run down. Three more plays led to them taking their first timeout with 0:34 remaining in the half while holding the ball at the Green Bay 43-yard line.

On a third-and-2 scenario, Shanahan wanted to make sure that if the 49ers did not convert, they would leave Green Bay with little time to respond. The 49ers picked up the first down on Purdy’s 5-yard pass to wide receiver Jauan Jennings.

Then, the 49ers used their second timeout with 0:28 remaining.

Shanahan said he wanted to take a shot down the field to wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk. But when Aiyuk was not open against the Green Bay coverage, Purdy checked it down to McCaffrey for 8 yards to the Green Bay 30.

Purdy spiked the ball to stop the clock. Then, a throwaway on third down set up Moody’s fourth-down field-goal attempt.

“At that point, we’re up 7-6,” Shanahan said. “Worst-case scenario, we’re going into halftime up 7-6. The second-worst scenario is we’re up 10-6, if we make the field goal. We’re starting with the ball in the third quarter, so we have a chance to lap them.”

The 49ers did not come away with points to close the first half and had a three-and-out to open the third quarter.

Still, Shanahan said he has no regrets and appears certain to handle the end-of-half situations the same way in the future.

“Those are the stats,” he said. “It took me a while to believe it — just like all of you guys, obviously. But there’s too much history with it. There’s too much time, and I believe that really helps us have a good record.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us