If the 49ers had held on, no one would have questioned Kyle Shanahan’s decision not to call timeout before the Chiefs punted with less than two minutes remaining in the first half. But the 49ers blew the 10-point fourth-quarter lead, so Shanahan’s decision invites questions.
Former 49ers quarterback Steve Young, who now is an ESPN analyst, wondered whether Shanahan’s fear of Jimmy Garoppolo is greater than his trust in his quarterback.
“I think he and Kyle have to work on their dance step,” Young told Ron Kroichick of the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. “The thing before halftime doesn’t make sense to me. If I was the quarterback, and you just let the clock drain away, what are you saying to me? That’s just me. I understand you want to drain a little bit of time so you don’t have to give it back to Patrick Mahomes. I get that, but how about some time for me? That tells me there’s an ongoing relationship that needs to be developed, a trust maybe that needs to be worked on.
“Look, I always put myself on the field. How would I feel? And I would feel like, ‘Hey, wait a second, put the ball in my hands.’ So those two have to figure out how to continue to build off what they’ve done.”
Garoppolo went 3-for-11 for 36 yards and an interception in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV, posting a 2.8 passer rating.
Young credited Garoppolo for “owning” his fourth-quarter numbers and hopes he can rebound — and grow — from the missed opportunity.
“Jimmy doesn’t know his ceiling,” Young said. “Just keep playing and it works itself out over time. People say, ‘I know his ceiling.’ No, you don’t, because Jimmy doesn’t even know it, and Kyle doesn’t either. You can think you know, but it needs to play out.”