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#pounditTuesday, February 27, 2024

Kyle Shanahan roasted after latest blown playoff game

Kyle Shanahan

The San Francisco 49ers’ loss in Sunday’s NFC Championship extended Kyle Shanahan’s unwanted record of coming up short in big playoff moments.

Shanahan’s 49ers took a 17-7 lead into the fourth quarter against the Los Angeles Rams, but were unable to hold on the rest of the way. The Rams scored on three consecutive drives in the quarter and ultimately pulled out a 20-17 win. The Rams’ 10-point comeback marked the largest fourth quarter comeback in NFC Championship history.

That drew attention to Shanahan’s involvement in other notable playoff collapses. He was the offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons team that infamously blew a 28-3 lead in the Super Bowl against the New England Patriots. In 2019, his 49ers blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl against Kansas City. Deservedly or not, that game helped cement Shanahan’s reputation in the minds of many as someone who comes up short in big games.

That came to the forefront again Sunday, as social media was quick to pounce on the latest entry in Shanahan’s record of big game shortcomings.

How much of Sunday’s loss could be pinned on Shanahan is debatable. The most questionable decision he made in the fourth quarter was the call to punt on 4th and 2 from the Rams’ 45-yard line with about ten minutes left. The 49ers were holding a three-point lead at the time. On the other hand, Shanahan’s defense had played well for much of the game, and the coach clearly trusted that to continue. Critics were quick to argue that it was the continuation of a trend where Shanahan gets too conservative in key moments of big games.

This year’s 49ers team arguably overachieved on the strength of an outstanding defense. Jimmy Garoppolo proved limited as a quarterback and the offense had moments of inconsistency, but there is a strong argument that Shanahan got the best out of the group he had. That will not do much to silence his critics, who will continue harping on his teams’ habit of blowing leads whenever it resurfaces.

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