San Francisco 49ers players admitted they were not aware of the new overtime rules after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas; Patrick Mahomes won Super Bowl MVP for the third time in his career after leading the Chiefs to a third ring in five seasons
2024: San Francisco 49ers players unaware of overtime rules in loss to Kansas City Chiefs />
Highlights from the Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LVIII from Las Vegas.
The San Francisco 49ers were dealt more Super Bowl misery on Sunday night as they fell short against the Kansas City Chiefs once again.
A masterful overtime performance from Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes led his side to a 25-22 victory in Las Vegas.
In what marked a rematch of Super Bowl LIV – during which they had relinquished a 10-point fourth-quarter lead against the Chiefs – the 49ers were unable to capitalise on an early 10-0 advantage before Kansas City’s Harrison Butker kicked a game-tying field goal with three seconds left in regulation.
Sunday’s game was the first to play to the new overtime rules that mean both teams are granted possession of the ball – the exception being if the first drive in overtime ends with a safety – compared to the usual rules what would see the game end should the first possession amount to a touchdown.
The 49ers were limited to just a field goal on the first possession of overtime, paving the way for Mahomes to march downfield and clinch a third Super Bowl ring with a game-winning touchdown pass to Mecole Hardman.
“I didn’t even know about the new playoff overtime rule, so it was a surprise to me,” said 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead. “I didn’t even really know what was going on in terms of that.
“They put it on the scoreboard, and everyone was like, ‘Oh, even if you score, they get a chance still’.”
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While Chiefs safety Justin Reid noted how the team had discussed the new rules at an early training camp, the 49ers had seemingly been less aware.
“You know what? I didn’t even realise the playoff rules were different in overtime,” said Niners fullback Kyle Juszczyk. “I assume you just want the ball to score a touchdown and win.
“I guess that’s not the case. I don’t totally know the strategy there. We hadn’t talked about it, no.”
Defeat continued head coach Kyle Shanahan’s wait for a first Super Bowl ring, having been offensive coordinator of the Atlanta Falcons team that blew a 25-point lead against the New England Patriots before losing to the Chiefs with San Francisco at the end of the 2019 campaign.
“None of us have a ton of experience with it,” Shanahan said of the overtime rules. “We went through all the analytics and talked to those guys. We decided it would be better getting the ball because if both teams matched and scored, we wanted to be the ones to have a chance to go win it.”
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The 49ers had entered the playoffs as the NFC’s No 1 seed and, alongside the Baltimore Ravens, consensus favourites to lift the Lombardi Trophy behind one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the NFL.
Instead, they remain in pursuit of their first Super Bowl victory since the 1994 season, having now lost on their last three trips to the NFL’s curtain-closer.
“We’ve been so close so many times that there’s only so many more opportunities that we have,” said Niners edge rusher Nick Bosa.
Mr Irrelevant quarterback Brock Purdy was unflappable on the Super Bowl stage, completing 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown but being unable to get his side over the line as Steve Spagnuolo’s defense kept the Chiefs alive down the stretch.
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“When you have a good offense like the Chiefs do and what Mahomes can do, for us, it’s like, all right, we have to score touchdowns,” Purdy said. “And we had opportunities to do so, I think. Shot ourselves in the foot with just penalties and the operations and stuff.
“I’ve got to be better in terms of leading the guys and just how I handle things in the huddle and telling them what to expect, stuff like that. So, at the end of the day, I think we have the team, the offense to score touchdowns, and I think I failed to put our team in position to do that.”
It was there for the Niners. It was there for Shanahan. But as has often been the case in recent years, it was always the Chiefs.
“There’s nothing different to say,” Shanahan said. “I don’t care how you lose, when you lose Super Bowls, especially ones you think you can pull off, it hurts. But I think when you’re in the NFL, I think every team should hurt except for one at the end. We’ve gotten pretty damn close, but we haven’t pulled it off, and we’re hurting right now.”