LAS VEGAS -- Another heartbreaker. The San Francisco 49ers have their Super Bowl dreams crushed again by the Kansas City Chiefs. And just like in Super Bowl 54, the 49ers couldn't capitalize on their 10-point lead and elite performance from their defense.
It didn't start off too hot for the 49ers in this game. In fact, they got off to a terrible start on offense. In the opening series, the 49ers were driving down the field so smoothly. Brock Purdy was able to get involved with a couple of passes, and the run game was looking dominant with Christian McCaffrey.
A touchdown was bound to come from the drive. And then, McCaffrey of all people fumbled the ball to ruin a promising drive. That series would set the tone for the 49ers' offense all game. It was practically non-existent. Give credit where credit is due. The Chiefs made it a point of emphasis to not allow the 49ers to find their groove on the ground.
The last thing Kansas City could've afforded is allowing the Offensive Player of the Year to get hot. He never once got hot in this game. That made it tough on Purdy to attack the Chiefs. He couldn't really get it going for much of the game either. It wasn't that he was bad, but he wasn't at all the version that became an MVP finalist.
Really, the only player that was a force on offense for the 49ers was Jauan Jennings. He threw for a touchdown and caught one as well -- joining Nick Foles as the only two players to have done so in a Super Bowl. Aside from those two touchdown drives, the 49ers were massively underwhelming on offense.
Luckily, the 49ers defense came to play. Much like the 49ers' offense, the defense set the tone for themselves for the entire game on their opening drive. The Chiefs' offense and Patrick Mahomes couldn't buy a first down against them. San Francisco was suffocating them.
They held the Chiefs to six points in the first half and astonishingly low yardage. Best part of all is the run defense and pass rush looked alive again. The 49ers' defense definitely wanted to make sure they didn't replicate their past two playoff performances in the Super Bowl.
It is thanks to the defense that the 49ers were in the game the whole time. Being able to limit Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and an Andy Reid run offense is not that easy. But that is what the 49ers made it look like. This is what happens when they play up to their potential. Even more impressively they did so without Dre Greenlaw who exited the game in the second quarter due to an Achilles injury.
Despite playing subpar for most of the game, the 49ers' offense had a chance at redemption coming out of the two-minute warning of the fourth quarter. Faced with a 3rd-and-four, the 49ers could've potentially won the game with a conversion. Unfortunately, the play stood no chance.
The Chiefs held strong on that play, which forced the 49ers to settle for a field goal. That would prove to be a big mistake and be the turning point of the game. The 49ers gave Mahomes two minutes with two timeouts to work down the field to either tie or win the game. And he did just that.
Kansas City would trot down the field with ease and tie the game at 19 a piece on a Harrison Butker field goal with three seconds left. Purdy would kneel on the ensuing drive to take the game to overtime. By this time, all of these players are gassed and have to will themselves for one more quarter.
Overtime started just like the game did with the 49ers opening on offense. Except this time their drive didn't end with a turnover. It ended with a field goal after a hard-fought series to work down the field. The highlight of that drive was when Purdy escaped the pressure rolling to his left to find McCaffrey who would take it for a 24-yard gain.
So, just like in the final two minutes of regulation, it was on the 49ers' defense again to seal the victory by stopping Mahomes. And they couldn't get it done. They couldn't stop potentially the greatest NFL player of all-time on the final drive of regulation and overtime. Because of that, the 49ers suffer another devastating defeat to the Chiefs in a Super Bowl.
The defense will be looked at for failing late in the game again, while the offense never found its groove. All fingers should be pointed at Kyle Shanahan as he now faces an offseason of questions.