The 49ers entered the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV with a 10-point lead over the Kansas City Chiefs, before eventually falling, 31-20. Even as they began squandering their lead, San Francisco had its chances to become champions.
Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers found themselves in a 24-20 deficit with 2:44 remaining. The ensuing eight-play drive ended in four straight incomplete passes and Jimmy G being sacked on fourth down.
After the Chiefs scored on a two-play drive to increase their lead to 11 points, Kansas City cornerback Kendall Fuller intercepted a Garoppolo pass intended for rookie Deebo Samuel down the field with only 57 seconds remaining. The rest is history.
"We knew that obviously they were gonna try to get the ball to [tight end George] Kittle," Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Mathieu said Thursday on FS1's "First Things First." "But most importantly I felt that Deebo Samuel was their guy."
Mathieu said he and Fuller actually went over the route where Garoppolo was picked off ... one series prior to their prediction coming true.
"On the interception that Kendall Fuller caught, we had actually communicated the series before about that same route concept," Mathieu explained. "We just thought that they were gonna put Kittle at No. 3 and try to force him the ball down the middle."
General manager John Lynch reiterated his confidence in Garoppolo on Tuesday at the NFL Scouting Combine, and coach Kyle Shanahan certainly has gone over every situation from his latest Super Bowl loss this offseason. The two know they can't dwell on the past, though.
It's time to look ahead and focus on making another run at the Lombardi Trophy.