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#pounditFriday, January 27, 2023

Kyle Shanahan explains conservative playcalls at end of first half

Kyle Shanahan 49ers

San Francisco 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan took some heat for his conservative playcalls at the end of the first half of Super Bowl LIV.

Shanahan could have gotten his team the ball back with around a minute and a half left and two timeouts in the half. Instead, he didn’t use his timeouts, and waited for the Chiefs to punt with 59 seconds left. It wasn’t until 3rd down that the Niners opened up the playbook, but an offensive pass interference call against George Kittle with 14 seconds left negated a big play to put San Francisco in field goal range. Ultimately, they went to the locker room tied at 10.

Shanahan said that he did not want to run the risk of the Chiefs getting the ball back before halftime, and thought that it would have worked out fine if not for Kittle’s penalty.

The 49ers could have been up at halftime with a bit more aggression, but Shanahan did not seem to entirely trust Jimmy Garoppolo to throw downfield. Considering what happened in the second half, maybe he should have. Plenty of people first-guessed Shanahan’s playcalling, especially in contrast with Chiefs coach Andy Reid’s willingness to go for it on 4th and short twice in the first half. If his defense holds in the second half, it’s forgotten. They didn’t, so it becomes a key talking point as people try to figure out how the 49ers fell short.

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