Yup, we know. We had previously called the 49ers a "gimmick" and that the Kansas City Chiefs needed to win for the sake of NFL fans given the lack of San Francisco's identity (whether you agree or not).
But now we're approaching a point of no return and it's time to pump the brakes.
Sure, head coach Kyle Shanahan is among those to blame for the Super Bowl LIV loss to Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes, but using him as the sole scapegoat is irresponsible and short-sighted.
First of all, he was offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons, as we well know, so he had no oversight of the defense like he may have had this time around. While his oddly aggressive play-calling against the Patriots in Super Bowl LI contrasted his seemingly conservative style this past Sunday, the Falcons and 49ers are completely different offensive attacks.
Should Shanahan have tried to score at the end of the first half? The consensus seems to be "yes," but then what happens if Jimmy Garoppolo throws a pick and the Chiefs set themselves up for a momentum-shifting field goal? Should Shanahan have opted to run the ball a bit more in the fourth quarter? Same consensus response here, but what happens when he goes three and out? Then he's too conservative.
The fact of the matter is, both of his teams that choked away these leads just didn't get the job done on the field. Shanahan surely could have done more to help, but was it his fault Devonta Freeman completely whiffed his block attempt on Dont'a Hightower, which led to a strip-sack? Was it his fault the Falcons defense couldn't stop a nosebleed in the final 18 minutes of the game? Or the fact Julian Edelman made a miracle catch in triple coverage on a terrible throw from Tom Brady? This time around, was it his fault Garoppolo terribly missed a potential go-ahead touchdown throw to Emmanuel Sanders, who had his defender beat? Was it his fault the 49ers defense allowed 21 points in the final six minutes?
I mean, that throw would've had to have been right on the money, but Sanders had absolutely no shot despite Jimmy G having a relatively clean pocket. Let's also not forget the QB missed a few reads on the last couple drives. If you rewind closely, he had George Kittle open over the middle on a few throws but overlooked the star tight end for another option that fell incomplete.
And worst of all, the 49ers' vaunted defense gave up a 3rd and 15 (with the Chiefs on their own 35) on a Patrick Mahomes bomb to Tyreek Hill to set up a red zone possession. How do you have a busted coverage on a play like this? A stop here all but officially ends the game.
Where's the Robert Saleh criticism? He completely lost his unit in the final seven minutes.
Shanahan is certainly to blame in some capacity, but he can't shoulder all of it when just about everyone responsible for getting a specific job done failed. The critics will say that falls on the head coach, but it's on the individuals to deliver and rise to the occasion. One person is not solely responsible here even though it may seem so considering Shanahan is on the losing end of the two worst Super Bowl collapses in history.