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Shanahan doubles down on key OT, fourth-down decisions in Super Bowl

Shanahan doubles down on key OT, fourth-down decisions in Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Kyle Shanahan stands by his decisions in the 49ers' heartbreaking Super Bowl LVIII overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium.

Tied at 19 points at the end of regulation, the 49ers won the overtime coin flip and opted to start with the ball, which ultimately resulted in rookie kicker Jake Moody giving San Francisco a 22-19 lead on the opening drive before Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes responded with a game-winning 13-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession.

In speaking to reporters after the game, Shanahan stood by his decision, explaining his logic for opting to start with the ball.

"That's just something we talked about, none of us have a ton of experience with it, but we went through the analytics and talked to those guys and thought it would be better," Shanahan said. "We wanted the ball third, but both teams matched and scored. We wanted to be the ones to be the ones who had the chance to go win. We got that field goal, so we knew we had to hold them at least to a field goal and if we did we felt it was in our hands after that."

The 49ers marched down the field on their opening possession in overtime, but the drive stalled out on the Kansas City 9-yard line. Faced with a fourth-and-4, Shanahan opted to kick the go-ahead field goal, a decision he didn't think twice about.

"No, we never thought about there, fourth-and-4," Shanahan added. "Even if we do go down and score, they can match it. So no, there wasn't a thought there."

Quarterback Brock Purdy completed 4 of 7 pass attempts on the 49ers' final drive but missed wide receiver Jauan Jennings on the third-and-4 play before Moody's field goal. Faced with pressure, Purdy overthrew Jennings and appeared to have wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk open on the other side of the field.

Purdy broke down the costly incomplete pass after the game, and while he was confident in Moody and the special teams unit to put the 49ers ahead, he knew what Mahomes was capable of doing -- and did.

"They brought zero [blitz] and I was just trying to get the ball to [Jauan Jennings]," Purdy said. "That's what was hurting me, just knowing that we --- yeah, we're going to execute the field goal, trust in Jake (Moody) and the special teams. Obviously, their offense is really good, Mahomes is really good, just don't want to give him an opportunity to go down and win the game off a touchdown. When I wasn't able to connect with him it hurt."

Shanahan does not regret his overtime decisions and was pleased with the game plan the 49ers' coaching staff put together despite the heartbreaking outcome.

"When we go through football and we watch it as part of our job, any play that doesn't work you always think about that," Shanahan explained. "But in terms of everything we try to do, we try to prepare as hard as we can and we try and go in there and do exactly what we think is right based on our preparation, what's going on in that game.

"What I can't live with is when I do stuff that I didn't plan on doing or that I didn't do and second-guess myself. I'm proud of what we did today as a coaching staff and players. We worked and we did everything we planned on doing, we just didn't get it done. And any play that didn't work out, yeah, you always look at that stuff. But that's how every game is and that's what we work at."

Shanahan and the 49ers suffered their second crushing Super Bowl loss to the Chiefs in four years, and just like the heartache in Miami Gardens, will walk away brokenhearted after once again coming close to hoisting the franchise's sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy.