Jimmie Ward needed some time before he could turn on the tape of the 49ers' collapse in Super Bowl LIV. He finally got around to it a few weeks ago, and has now watched it more times than he can count.
So, what's his main takeaway?
"How things played out, it was just tough," Ward said Thursday on KNBR's "Murph & Mac Show." "I just feel like we could have been better on offense and defense, and you've just still got to give the (Kansas City) Chiefs credit. They were the better team on that Sunday."
The Chiefs ultimately ended up on top, but the 49ers were in control for a larger portion of the game. Leading by 10 points in the fourth quarter, the tide began to turn on a critical third-and-15 conversion by Kansas City. The Chiefs never looked back from there.
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Ward wishes he could have that third down back.
"I wish I could have stayed more square," he explained. "I would say that. How I practiced it, how we -- it's a certain play. It's a route that they love doing. ... They ended up getting us in the right call because we were in Cover 3 during that play. I don't know if they were expecting us to be in Cover 3 or what, but yeah, we probably could have made another call. That probably would have helped us out, but at the same time, it probably could have played out the same way."
"I have no idea how that would happen," Ward continued, "but regarding the situation, if I had stayed square, it wouldn't have even been a play."
Ironically, Ward wasn't the only player on the field having trouble staying square on that play. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was able to buy plenty of time to deliver that 44-yard completion to Tyreek Hill, but only because Kansas City left tackle Eric Fischer wrapped both arms around Nick Bosa's bellybutton after the Defensive Rookie of the Year had beaten him on the play and was closing in for a sack.
Officials make the obvious call, and there's no completion to speak of, either.
Ward was right.
It's still too soon.