49ers unwritten rule No. 5: Run the ball to run out the clock
Remember that previous slide about building a lead regardless of what the context is? Maybe this should be a rule for Kyle Shanahan, especially looking at that 49ers lead in Super Bowl LIV.
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Shanahan all but abandoned the run late in the fourth quarter and San Francisco up over the Kansas City Chiefs, resulting in failed third-down conversion attempts to run out the clock, which in turn allowed the Chiefs to stage their own comeback.
So, as the postgame analysis went, Shanahan should have stuck to the run game.
Perhaps. We’ll never know. The thing, however, is what if Kansas City stuffing eight defenders in the box forced another 3-and-out from the Niners’ rushing attack? Sure, it would have eaten up time, and therein lies another “what if?”
But Shanahan actually called up some good high-percentage plays on that infamous 3-and-out. If quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo hits wide receiver Kendrick Bourne, or perhaps if Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones doesn’t bat down the pass at the line of scrimmage, we’re having a different conversation here.
What happened in the fourth quarter stunk for San Francisco fans, yes. But perhaps the unwritten rule should be changed to “go with your highest-percentage plays to run out the clock” instead.