LAS VEGAS -- George Kittle spoke in code after the 49ers lost the Super Bowl on Sunday night.
He didn't come right out and blame anyone by name for the loss. But he did provide hints and clues as to who should bear the responsibility of the 49ers' latest Super Bowl collapse.
"Our defense was playing really well in the first half," Kittle said. "Our offense couldn’t - we sputtered a little bit. Then when you play a quarterback like Patrick Mahomes with a good offense, you got to put up touchdowns, not field goals."
Translation: Don't blame the defense -- it played as well as you could expect it to play against Mahomes, Andy Reid.
Blame the offense. It "sputtered," as Kittle put it, which means it didn't perform well. Kicked too many field goals and didn't score enough touchdowns.
Who's fault is that?
Not Brock Purdy's fault, according to Kittle. "I thought he did a great job," Kittle said. "Just throughout the game, I haven’t watched the tape or anything like that, but Brock seemed like his normal self. Delivering the ball when he needed to, put it in tight coverages, I think Brock played a hell of a game."
That means Shanahan bears responsibility for the 49ers kicking too many field goals. He's the one who didn't call a handoff to Christian McCaffrey on 3rd and 4 from the Chiefs 9-yard line in overtime. He's the one who decided to kick a field goal rather than go for it on 4th and 4 from the Chiefs 9.
All Shanahan had to do was call back-to-back runs for McCaffrey and the 49ers probably would have picked up that first down. Instead, Shanahan overthought it, as he typically does under pressure.
Better luck next year.