SF 49ers: 10 most painful playoff losses in franchise history

San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (19) Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Jimmy Garoppolo, SF 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports /

No. 6: SF 49ers Super Bowl LIV loss to Chiefs

Final Score: Chiefs 31, SF 49ers 20

It’s pretty crazy to think, at least for the better part of three quarters, the SF 49ers were thwarting the usually dominant efforts from Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his electric offense in Super Bowl LIV.

The Niners had picked off Mahomes twice, while San Francisco’s ground game was all but ensuring the Chiefs offense would stay off the field as much as possible.

And all that led to a 10-point SF 49ers fourth-quarter lead.

Things began to fall apart, though, as head coach Kyle Shanahan elected to move away from the ground game and put more focus on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who hadn’t been asked to do too much through the air in the Niners’ playoff push up to that point. Some key 3-and-outs, batted-down passes and missing key receivers on third down helped shift the momentum.

It was momentum Mahomes and Kansas City’s offense keyed in on, too.

Mahomes completed that now-infamous 3rd-and-15 pass to a wide-open wide receiver, Tyreek Hill, on a busted coverage for 44 yards. Was EDGE Nick Bosa held on the play? Yes. Was it called by the officials? No.

But that didn’t give the Chiefs the lead. It only made it 20-17, and San Francisco still had the lead.

By that point, however, Kansas City’s offense was rolling while the SF 49ers defense was clearly gassed.

And Garoppolo’s overthrow of wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders after the Chiefs took a 24-20 lead all but ended the Niners’ chances for yet another storybook Super Bowl win.

It’ll be a Super Bowl loss San Francisco fans won’t forget for decades.