49ers Choke to Chiefs in Super Bowl 54

The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs both rolled into Miami with the sole goal of winning Super Bowl 54 and hoisting the Lombardi trophy. This was the first appearance for the 49ers since 2012 and the first for the Chiefs since 1969.

San Fran started the scoring with a field goal in the first quarter that was promptly answered by a Patrick Mahomes rushing touchdown to put early scoring at 7-3. The second quarter mirrored scores, with a Chiefs’ field goal answered by a touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk for 15 yards. The game was tied heading into halftime at ten points each.

The 49ers came out swinging after Shakira and Jennifer Lopez’s halftime show. They scored ten unanswered points in the third quarter off a field goal and Raheem Mostert’stouchdown run. The score was 20-10 San Francisco with just ten minutes to play. If there was one thing to learn from the playoffs, it was to never count Patrick Mahomes out. The Chiefs scored their first touchdown on a touchdown pass to Travis Kelce, closing the gap to 20-17. After a quick punt by San Francisco, Mahomes delivered another clutch drive capped off by a touchdown to Damien Williams to give them a four-point lead. The 49ers turned it over on downs and right when they had one chance to stop the Chiefs, Williams broke out with a 38-yard rushing touchdown to seal the 31-20 win.

Super Bowl 54 delivered all expectations, showcasing the strengths and weaknesses of both teams. Rookie receiver Deebo Samuel took the spotlight for the Niners with his 92 scrimmage yards. It seemed like he was the x-factor needed to win the big game until Shanahan just stopped utilizing him. The same goes to George Kittle, who is one of the best tight ends in the game right now. He came away with just four receptions on seven targets for 36 yards.

The defensive front put up impressive performances all game. Rookie Nick Bosa was a constant threat to Mahomes, while Jimmie Ward and Fred Warner were lockdown defenders. Richard Sherman, who is largely considered one of the best corners of the last decade, was somehow outmatched by the Kansas City receiving core. The six passes thrown his way were converted to six completions for 77 yards and a touchdown.

Meanwhile, Kansas City utilized their offensive threats well. Receivers Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins put their pure athleticism on display, acquiring over 200 receiving yards between them. Travis Kelce followed with 43 yards on six receptions with a touchdown, but really showed his true nature as he blocked for Damien Williams. Williams finished with 104 yards on the ground with a touchdown. Cornerback Bashaud Breeland held down the defensive end, with an interception to compliment his six tackles and two tackles for loss.

A lot of the blame has been shifted to 49ers coach, Kyle Shanahan, who was also the head coach behind Atlanta blowing a 28-3 Super Bowl lead to the New England Patriots. The issues were pretty straightforward. They bailed on their incredible run game when they were ahead and needed to simply grind down the clock. In his career now, Shanahan is outscored 46-0 in the fourth quarter and overtime in his two Super Bowl appearances.

Whether or not he deserved it, Mahomes took the Super Bowl MVP, and became the 30th quarterback to do so. He went 26-42 passing with 286 yards, three total touchdowns, and two interceptions. He became the second-youngest starting quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl, after Ben Roethlisberger in 2005.