Kyle Shanahan officially has a fourth-quarter playoff problem

Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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Andy Reid, Kyle Shanahan, Kansas City Chiefs, San Francisco 49ers
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid greets San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan  Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports /

Kyle Shanahan struggled in fourth quarter of 2 Super Bowls

Not to rehash some bad memories, but the 2022 NFC Championship game wasn’t the only time Kyle Shanahan was shut out in the fourth quarter during a high-profile playoff bout.

Remember Super Bowl LI when Shanahan was at the helm of the Atlanta Falcons offense against the New England Patriots? Yes, fans will recall and perhaps blame then-Falcons head coach Dan Quinn’s defense for coughing up a 28-3 lead held in the third quarter. But there’s still lingering blame on Shanahan for not chewing up the clock as well as he could have during that game.

OK, that was the Falcons going up against quarterback Tom Brady and a Pats dynasty. What about San Francisco’s own recent Super Bowl loss, Super Bowl LIV against quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs, when the 49ers held a more-precarious but still-formidable 20-10 lead entering the fourth quarter?

Wide receiver Deebo Samuel, then a rookie but a player nevertheless impressing, somehow found himself removed from the game plan, and Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu later thanked Shanahan for getting away from the Niners’ run game that was torching KC to so much effect earlier in the game.

San Francisco squandered away that 10-point lead, too.

Let’s take a look at Shanahan’s fourth-quarter scoring from these games, including Sunday’s NFC Championship loss, in contrast to what the 49ers’ opponents did in the same quarter:

  • Super Bowl LI: Falcons 0, Patriots 19
  • Super Bowl LIV: 49ers 0, Chiefs 21
  • 2022 NFC Championship: 49ers 0, Rams 13

That’s a deficit of minus-53. Not a good look for Shanahan in the playoffs.