4 early signs SF 49ers are in Super Bowl hangover

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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No. 3: SF 49ers are missing one too many plays in losses

Just like that infamous 3rd-and-15 conversion by the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl, the Niners have been guilty of allowing one too many bad plays in each of their two losses this season.

One or two plays can decide the outcome of the game. In the Week 1 loss against the Cardinals, Arizona was able to take advantage of a blown coverage with just over five minutes in regulation and trailing 20-17. Quarterback Kyler Murray hit a wide-open wide receiver, DeAndre Hopkins, for a 33-yard gain, and Arizona pushed the ball across the goal line one play later.

In Week 4, Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz took advantage of one-on-one coverage by reserve corner Dontae Johnson, hitting an unknown wide receiver, Travis Fulgham, for a 42-yard touchdown, which set the tone for Philadelphia’s upset victory:

There were other plays in each of those losses the Niners would love to have back. But one of the key differences between 2019 and this year is the SF 49ers being unable to afford that extra gaffe, particularly on the defensive side of the ball.

It’s ironic, too, because the Niners defense has actually performed quite well, statistically, this season. Over four weeks, this unit is ranked second with just 71 points allowed.

Yet that “one play too many” is turning into the difference-maker, both between the 2019 and 2020 squads and being 4-0 versus 2-2.