The San Francisco 49ers had plenty of opportunities to put the Kansas City Chiefs away by running up multiple scores in the second half of Super LVIII, but they couldn’t do it, scoring three points on their three drives in the third quarter.
That, of course, meant the inevitable: Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs rallied for another comeback victory against the 49ers in the big game, leaving San Francisco thinking again about what it could have done differently for the second time in five years after losing 25-22 in overtime.
“Yeah, obviously, it sucks man,” 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy said said after the game when asked if he lost the Super Bowl, via NBC Sports. “You want to win it for this type of guy [head coach Kyle Shanahan]. He is an excellent coach. Everyone wants to go to war with this guy. The way he carries himself and carries himself, we all just want to win for him. Obviously, the older ones, the veterinarians. Trent Williams, Arik Armstead and all the guys who have been through this, man, you want to win for them.
“It starts with Coach, man. That’s what I suffered for,” Purdy continued. “I suffered for all the other guys. For our whole team. What we went through last year wasn’t easy, and for it to happen like that, close at the end, it’s hard .I’m still trying to wrap my mind around this.”
Purdy, who was the third youngest starting quarterback in Super Bowl history (24 years, 46 days), didn’t play badly as he completed 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown. However, he just couldn’t make a few key game-changing plays when the 49ers needed him to, facing critical third downs on their final two drives of the game.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who became the first coordinator to win four Super Bowls, blitzed Purdy on each of San Francisco’s final third-down plays on its final two possessions, forcing failures on these two throws. In the aftermath of the Super Bowl, Purdy was acutely aware of the high cost of those failures, particularly his final throw of the game in overtime.
“They brought [Cover] Zero [pure man coverage with no deep safety because of the blitz]and I was trying to pass the ball to JJ [Jauan Jennings]”Purdy said after the game, via KNBR, when asked about his failure on third-and-4 at the Chiefs 9-yard line in overtime. “That’s what hurt me… Their offense is really good. Mahomes is really good, and you just don’t want to give them the opportunity to go down and win the game on a touchdown. When I wasn’t able to connect with him [Jennings] it hurts.”
For most of the night, Purdy withstood the pressure designed by Spagnuolo, completing 10 of 13 passes against the blitz on first and second downs. However, the third down, meaning the money bet, was a different story. He completed just two of his six throws on third down while blitzing, including just one of four when Spags blitzed the defensive backs on those plays.
Blitz Purdy vs. Chiefs
* 1 of 4 against DB blitz on third down (2 of 2 on first and second down)
Spagnuolo’s pressure defenses helped give Tom Brady and the 18-1 New England Patriots a Super Bowl loss in 2007, Shanahan’s 49ers a Super Bowl loss in the 2019 season, and Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles a close case of Super Bowl sadness, just like Purdy’s. 2023 Niners.
Now, Purdy and Shanahan must go back to the drawing board this offseason in hopes that another trip back doesn’t take another five years.