Everything seemed to be going as planned for defensive coordinator Robert Saleh and the 49ers against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV. That is, at least through the first three quarters.
The 49ers entered the fourth quarter with a 10-point lead and essentially were bottling up the Chiefs dominant offense. San Francisco even intercepted Mahomes for a second time early in the fourth quarter.
And then it all came crashing down.
Saleh's defense lost its air and the Chiefs turned on the jets, scoring 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to beat the 49ers, 31-20. Saleh has his eyes on another Super Bowl run, but the sting still hurts.
"I haven't moved on yet," Saleh told Bay Area reporters, via 49ers Webzone. "I mean, I have, but you still think about that play. Every time the game goes on (television), you think about the game.
"I think I laid in bed for a couple of weeks."
The core of the 49ers' defense from last season -- outside of DeForest Buckner -- has returned this year. Richard Sherman is back, as is Fred Warner, Arik Armstead and a healthy Kwon Alexander. Plus, Nick Bosa should be even better in Year 2.
Saleh does have a Super Bowl ring when he won one as an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks during the 2013 season, but the losses always stick longer than wins.
"I've been blessed to be part of the [2013 season] championship team in Seattle," Saleh said. "And they always say you remember the ones you lost more than the ones you win, and that one's going to stick with us forever. But at the same time, we're all adults, and we know that we have an opportunity to get back there again by dominating the days. "So, yeah, it's tough, but at the same time, you just move on because that's part of being an adult and moving forward."
Saleh and the 49ers are set to start their comeback trail when they take on the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 13 at Levi's Stadium in their season opener.