Spencer Buford

49ers' Burford shoulders pass-protection blame, clears air with Feliciano

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — Guard Spencer Burford took full responsibility for the overtime play in which the 49ers left Kansas City star defensive tackle Chris Jones unblocked.

It was a point that teammate Jon Feliciano revealed on social media when right tackle Colton McKivitz was incorrectly blamed for the pass-protection mistake for not sliding to his left to block Jones.

“A quick chop is not needed if the guy that was supposed to block him, blocks him,” Feliciano wrote the morning after the 49ers’ 25-22 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

Burford told NBC Sports Bay Area on Tuesday that he and Feliciano have spoken and cleared the air. Feliciano posted an apology on social media, too, saying he "woke up hungover" and addressed Burford, writing, "You got nothing but greatness ahead of you. I'm sorry bro."

“It was just a miscommunication between us, man,” Burford said. “He apologized.”

Feliciano started at right guard but left midway through the game due to a pectoral injury. Burford played the final 41 snaps.

Burford confirmed that he was responsible for the B-gap — the area between himself and McKivitz.

“I should have just played within the scheme,” Burford said. “I played on instinct. It was my fault. I don’t want anybody to put anything on Colton, whatever he has going on. Don’t blame him.”

On a third-and-4 play in overtime, Jones went unblocked and rushed quarterback Brock Purdy into an incomplete throw over the head of receiver Jauan Jennings on the right side. The 49ers settled for a short field goal, opening the door for Patrick Mahomes to lead the Chiefs down the field for the game-winning touchdown.

Burford, a two-year NFL veteran who started 13 games before Feliciano took over, reflected on what it meant for coach Kyle Shanahan and some of his veteran teammates, such as Trent Williams, Kyle Juszczyk, Deebo Samuel, George Kittle, Fred Warner, Arik Armstead and others.

“It’s been kind of weighing on me, of course, because of everything that everybody put into it,” Burford said. “I’m mad at the fact that we lost, don’t get me wrong. But it’s the extra.

“You think about them and it hurts you a little more. It means a little bit more. You got the whole organization, dynasty, you know what I’m saying? It’s a lot, but it’s only going to make you better.”

Burford said he has received encouraging words throughout the locker room, including from Armstead, who has a locker next to Burford.

“There are 160 plays and more with social teams that have an impact on the game,” Armstead said. “One play doesn’t determine the game, and we had plenty of opportunities to get the win, and it didn’t happen, and that was for a multitude of reasons, not for one singular play.

“Spencer is a great young player. He loves football. It means a lot to him. I practice against him every day. He’s gotten so much better. He’s helped me in my game, too. He’s a great young player and he’s going to be great for us in the future. I think this moment will make his better and he has a bright future.”

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us