Miami (AFP) - San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan insisted his team would bounce back after a fourth quarter collapse left their Super Bowl dream in ruins here Sunday.
Shanahan could only watch in horror as the 49ers saw a 20-10 fourth quarter lead evaporate as the Kansas City Chiefs ran out 31-20 winners.
It was a grim case of deja vu for Shanahan, who had been offensive coordinator with the Atlanta Falcons at the 2017 Super Bowl when they surrendered a 28-3 lead to New England.
As grim-faced 49ers players faced the media on Sunday, Shanahan said he believed his team would recover.
"We'll lick our wounds, and we'll get over this," he said. "We'll be fired up for next year. We're going to rest a little bit and get over this, but we will be very fired up."
While Shanahan sought to put a brave face on the defeat, his shellshocked players struggled to comprehend what had just happened.
"It's tough," said quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. "I mean, I've never had this feeling before. Kind of an unreal feeling. But it is what it is."
Tight end George Kittle was similarly at a loss.
"It's pretty brutal," Kittle said. "It just honestly sucks. It's not really anything you can wrap your head around.
"That is exactly how it feels - disbelief."
For the veteran members of the 49ers roster, the loss was even harder to stomach.
The 32-year-old wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders said the loss was self-inflicted.
"We lost it," Sanders said. "We had them. We were up 10 points going into the fourth quarter and we weren't able to finish. It was a great team effort but we just didn't get the job done."
Cornerback Richard Sherman was similarly unflinching in his criticism.
"It was just mistakes, self-inflicted," the 31-year-old defender said. "It is what it is you know? We didn't execute our game and get the win."
Defensive lineman Deforest Buckner meanwhile backed the 49ers to recover.
"To be so close and coming up short is one of the worst feelings in the world. But I believe in every single one of the guys in that room and I really do believe that we've got something special. We're not finished."
Fellow lineman Kwon Alexander was similarly defiant.
"It's going to sting for a while, but I'm going to have to put it behind me and get ready for next year."