SF 49ers Lesson No. 1: Trust what’s working for you
Fortunately, Super Bowl 55 didn’t show unrelenting footage or reminders of the Chiefs’ comeback the previous year.
One of the elements that could have been shown was how the Niners somehow elected to stop running the ball late in the game — a move that prompted Kansas City’s safety, Tyrann Mathieu, to express his thanks shortly after San Francisco lost.
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What’s maddening and will haunt SF 49ers fans for years is the fact Kyle Shanahan’s ground attack finished the game with an average of 6.4 yards per play. Getting the ball in the hands of running back Raheem Mostert was working. And wide receiver Deebo Samuel’s jet sweep had worked, too. Yet for some reason, Shanahan abandoned Mostert and Samuel in the fourth quarter.
The Bucs didn’t do much of anything different throughout the course of the game. Their combination of running backs Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette only increased as the game wore on, while Tom Brady wasn’t afraid to go with his big shots. Targeting tight end Rob Gronkowski to the tune of six catches for 67 yards and two touchdowns seemed to be a regularity, especially with the Chiefs focusing a lot of defensive attention on Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans.
Brady didn’t try forcing anything to Evans when it wasn’t there. Instead, he and the Buccaneers offense kept exploiting what Kansas City couldn’t stop.
The Niners only wish they had done the same the year before.