49ers

Jimmy Garoppolo misses Super Bowl hero moment on Emmanuel Sanders overthrow

Jimmy Garoppolo misses Super Bowl hero moment on Emmanuel Sanders overthrow

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- The play was right there to be made. 

With 1:39 left and the 49ers trailing the Kansas City Chiefs 24-20 in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium, Emmanuel Sanders beat Charvarius Ward off the line, got behind the safety and started sprinting toward the end zone. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo saw his receiver come open, he stepped up and let it fly with Super Bowl immortality in sight. 

The ball sailed over Sanders and the 49ers' last real shot to take home the Lombardi Trophy died when the ball clanged to the turf. Garoppolo was sacked on the ensuing fourth-down play, turning the ball over on downs and the Chiefs secured a 31-20 win.

After the loss, Sanders was in no mood to discuss the overthrow that might have robbed him of his Super Bowl hero moment.

“What route do you think it was?” Sanders said when asked about the play design.

Did he feel like he was close to hauling it in?

“What did you see?” Sanders said rolling his eyes. “How close did I look? Yeah, how close did I look? It’s a dumb question. Next question.”

And with that, Sanders stormed out of the media center and off to the bus, leaving his quarterback and head coach to answer questions about the game-winner that should have been.

“Emmanuel did a good job of just getting over the safeties,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I didn’t see how the pocket was, so I’m not sure. I was looking downfield. It just looked like he missed him.”

Garoppolo, who looked crisp during the middle of the game after throwing a ghastly first-quarter interception, thought the overthrow was indicative of the 49ers’ entire night in which they blew a 10-point lead with 8:53 remaining.

“We missed some shots tonight,” Garoppolo said after the loss. “Just some plays we usually make. It was a tough one out there.”

[RELATED: Mahomes voted Super Bowl MVP as Chiefs beat 49ers]

The 49ers entered the fourth quarter with an iron grip on the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title. Their vaunted defensive line was hounding Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, and Garoppolo and the offense were picking up plays in chunks during a third quarter that was a microcosm of the 49ers’ season.

Then, everything flipped. Mahomes scored two touchdowns in six minutes, thrusting the weight of the world off his shoulders and onto the back of Garoppolo.

Four times before this season, Garoppolo led game-winning drives. The 49ers had moved the ball at will for much of the game.

They were confident. This was there moment. Shanahan had drawn up the perfect play, Sanders beat his man. But the last part of the equation didn't hit. 

After coming through all season long, the missed opportunity left the 49ers stunned.

“That’s exactly how it feels, disbelief,” tight end George Kittle said after the game. “We answered the call almost every single time this season. If you take out the last touchdown Atlanta scored on us, we lost three games by a combined seven points.

“Yeah, losing this one, just our mentality was, ‘Hey, we’re going to finish this out.’ When you don’t do it, you want to look at yourself in the mirror and ask why? But I’m just going to watch the tape and see what happened.”

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Kyle Shanahan sees Jordan Reed as big 49ers contributor, if healthy

Veteran tight end Jordan Reed seemingly is taking a huge risk with designs on a return to football after sustaining a seventh documented concussion a year ago.

But it is a risk that could pay off big for Reed and the 49ers this season, his first NFL coach said on Monday.

Kyle Shanahan was in his final season as Washington’s offensive coordinator during Reed’s first season after entering the league as a second-round draft pick. Now, Shanahan and Reed are back together after Reed agreed to a one-year contract on Monday.

“I know he hasn’t been on the field for a little bit. I know he’s very hungry to get back out there,” Shanahan said.

“When you have a talented guy who’s hungry to play football, it works out if they can stay healthy. And Jordan has had some bad luck over the years. I know he’s ready to go. I hope he has some good luck here. And if he does, I think it’s going to be a hell of a deal for the Niners and a really good deal for him, also.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Reed, 30, has appeared in just 65 games over the past seven seasons with Washington. He has 329 career receptions for 3,371 yards and 24 touchdowns. His best season came in 2015, when he saw action in 14 games and caught 87 passes for 952 yards and 11 touchdowns.

He did not play last season after sustaining a concussion in a preseason game. The Washington Football Team released him in February.

“Everyone is aware of Jordan’s ability,” Shanahan said. “When he’s been healthy, he’s played at an extremely high level. And he’s been one of the first third-down tight ends in the league when he’s been healthy.”

[RELATEDShanahan optimistic 49ers, Kittle will get contract done]

Shanahan said he typically likes to bring six tight ends to training camp. It was a little more difficult this summer because teams have to trim to 80 players instead of the usual 90-man limits. But the 49ers found a way to add Reed, who figures to join a competition to become George Kittle’s backup.

Reed will compete with Ross Dwelley, Daniel Helm and sixth-round draft pick Charlie Woerner for the backup job.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams thrilled 49ers signed former teammate Jordan Reed

Trent Williams isn't the only former Washington Football Team player joining the 49ers this offseason.

San Francisco signed free agent tight end Jordan Reed to an incentive-laden one-year contract on Monday, hoping to put a steady backup behind All-Pro George Kittle. Formerly a third-round draft pick by Washington in 2013, Reed was a teammate of Williams in the nation's capital for each of the past six seasons. Williams expressed his excitement for Reed on his Instagram story Monday afternoon.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

A Pro Bowl selection in 2016, Reed missed all of the 2019 season after getting a concussion in the third preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons. Like Williams, Reed finished the 2019 season on injured reserve. Washington released Reed in February.

Reed could see his role increased significantly early on with the 49ers if Kittle's contract negotiations continue to stall, as general manager John Lynch didn't give much of an update Monday on the conversations.

[RELATED: 49ers rule D.J. Reed out for year after surgery on torn pec]

“We’re working diligently to come to a resolution,” Lynch told reporters over Zoom on Monday afternoon.

Reed's concerning history with concussions wasn't lost on Lynch, but the 49ers clearly see the upside in a tight end with four 50+ catch seasons out of his six healthy NFL seasons.

“It's well-documented that he’s had multiple concussions prior,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “So in situations like this, there’s a reason that a guy like Jordan Reed is out there, right? There is some risk-reward. We got to a point where we felt the risk that we’re taking on was worth it with the potential reward.”