Atlanta Falcons

49ers had 95 percent chance to win 2020 Super Bowl in fourth quarter

49ers had 95 percent chance to win 2020 Super Bowl in fourth quarter

When it comes to leads in the Super Bowl, bad luck seems to follow 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan.

During his tenure as Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator, the team jumped out to a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl LI, before Tom Brady and the New England Patriots scored 31 unanswered points and won 34-31 in overtime.

Fast forward three years, Shanahan once again led a team to the Super Bowl and jumped out to a 20-10 lead, before Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs rallied to win Super Bowl LIV 31-20 at Hard Rock Stadium.

Sunday’s loss places Shanahan in some unfortunate company.

With a little more than seven and a half minutes remaining, San Francisco was a virtual lock to win the franchise’s sixth Super Bowl title.

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

Many pointed to Shanahan's propensity to pass as the reason the Patriots were able to climb back and beat his Falcons. Once again in 2020, the 49ers elected to throw the ball with the game on the line.

After Kansas City cut the 49ers' lead to 20-17 with six minutes to play, the 49ers began the drive with a hand-off to Raheem Mostert, picking up five important yards on first down.

The next two plays, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an incompletion to tight end George Kittle and an incompletion to wideout Kendrick Bourne. The Niners were forced to punt, and burned just over a minute off the game clock.

The rest, as they say, is history. 

Shanahan wasn’t in charge of the defense during his time with the Falcons, so he can’t be entirely to blame for that blown lead.

However, this loss likely will haunt both Shanahan and the 49ers faithful everywhere throughout the offseason.

Why Kyle Shanahan openly talks about Falcons' Super Bowl disappointment

Why Kyle Shanahan openly talks about Falcons' Super Bowl disappointment

MIAMI, Fla. -- Kyle Shanahan has been asked a question or two, or 50, about his role in the Atlanta Falcons’ Super Bowl loss to the New England Patriots.

The Falcons held a 25-point second-half lead before the Patriots came charging back to win in overtime. Shanahan officially was hired the next day as the 49ers' head coach.

Shanahan’s play-calling as Falcons offensive coordinator was subject to immediate scrutiny and second-guessing. Interestingly, the Falcons' defensive breakdown did not face the same level of criticism.

And the rehash continues this week.

Shanahan has not bristled at the questions. He was asked this week why he does not try to “run from” the disappointment of Super Bowl LI.

“Because I don’t think there’s anything to run away from,” Shanahan answered. “I’m very proud of that year. I was proud of our team in Atlanta. I was proud of our players. And I thought we played a pretty darn good game.

“We were up 28-3 in the (third quarter) and we all know we did not play well in the fourth, didn’t coach well. But to sit there and run from something, I’m not going to run from that.”

Shanahan said the experience was valuable in his growth as a coach. One thing he learned is that no lead is ever safe. He said he does not like to label experiences “good” or “bad.” He said he views everything he experiences as something from which to learn.

It is why Shanahan said he nearly freaked out when 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh started to pull some of his defensive starters late in the 49ers’ 17-point victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

He said the most difficult part of the Falcons blowing the lead was how it impacted his loved ones.

“I’m very disappointed about losing a 28-3 (lead), and that was very hard on our entire team,” Shanahan said. “I understand, perception-wise, how much I had to take of that. But I think I can deal with that. It’s something I’ve been able to.

“Knowing that has made me a little bit stronger. You don’t always know what you can deal with and stuff. I think it was hard for people who love me, like my wife and my family members and stuff, because they’re very defensive about things like that.”

[RELATEDHow 49ers' Coleman is motivated by Super Bowl loss with Falcons]

Shanahan said there probably was only one play call that he would have changed during the pivotal part of the game. Instead of attempting a pass on second-and-11, which resulted in a sack, Shanahan said he wish he would have run the ball.

“I was involved in the game,” Shanahan said. “I know exactly what happened on every single play. I know I can live with that. I’d do it all over again, maybe a play or so, I’d call differently. But I’d do it all over again. I feel a lot stronger and better from it.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (9:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.

How 49ers' Tevin Coleman is motivated by Super Bowl loss with Falcons

How 49ers' Tevin Coleman is motivated by Super Bowl loss with Falcons

MIAMI, Fla. -- The biggest similarity running back Tevin Coleman sees between his two Super Bowl teams is unity.

“Just the bond that we have with each other,” Coleman said. “It’s just amazing to see that to see these guys have such a great bond and we can be ourselves on this team.”

Coleman said he felt the support of his teammates after sustaining a dislocated right shoulder in the 49ers’ victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. Coleman’s shoulder remained out of its socket for approximately 25 minutes before it was popped back into place.

The group of running backs -- Coleman, Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, Jeff Wilson and fullback Kyle Juszczyk -- support each other and push each other on and off the field, Coleman said.

“My brothers came and lifted me up,” Coleman said. “My teammates, Matt, Raheem, Jeff, Juice, the whole team. They all lifted me up, they all said, ‘We got you.’ That’s all you can ask for.”

After struggling last week with soreness, strength and range of motion, Coleman said he is feeling much better this week and is expected to be available to play in Super Bowl LIV on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.

There is no telling from week-to-week which running back the 49ers will feature on game days. Mostert (772), Breida (623) and Coleman (544) shared the load in the regular season. It was only the second time in franchise history the 49ers had three players with 500 or more rushing yards in the same season.

The 49ers' balance has carried over into the postseason, too.

Coleman gained 105 yards and two touchdowns in the 49ers’ playoff win over the Minnesota Vikings. Mostert achieved a franchise-record 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers in the NFC Championship Game.

“There’s definitely a good level of competition,” Coleman said. “And the guys in that room, they’re nothing but real guys. There’s no hate. There’s no, ‘I want the ball; I need the ball.’

“Everybody is going out there competing, and we’re happy for each other and we motivate each other and we lift each other up. I think that’s a big part of it.”

[RELATEDColeman looks 'good,' appears ready for Super Bowl role]

Coleman is back in the Super Bowl after being part of the Atlanta Falcons’ heartbreaking loss to the New England Patriots three years ago. Coleman scored on a 6-yard pass from Matt Ryan to give the Falcons a 28-3 lead midway through the third quarter.

But the Falcons faltered and the Patriots rallied for a 34-28 victory in overtime. Coleman is back, in search of the Super Bowl ring it appeared he would earn with the Falcons.

“It’s definitely a motivation,” Coleman said. “It has to be a mindset that we have to finish. That’s what we’re thinking about, finishing this game and coming out of it with a ring.

“I try not to dwell it, stay them to stay focused. Do the right things but enjoy it. We’re still here for a reason, we still got things to do. We still got to get this ring.”

Programming note: NBC Sports Bay Area feeds your hunger for 49ers Super Bowl coverage with special editions of “49ers Central” all week (9:30 p.m. Friday, and 3 p.m. Saturday).

Also tune in at 1 p.m. on Super Bowl Sunday for a two-hour special of "49ers Pregame Live" with Laura Britt, Donte Whitner, Jeff Garcia, Ian Williams, Kelli Johnson, Greg Papa and Grant Liffmann. That same crew will have all the postgame reaction on "49ers Postgame Live," starting immediately after the game.