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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Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance, San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance (5) and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports /

Kyle Shanahan can still turn around fourth-quarter woes

Just because a head coach has a tendency of botching things in the fourth quarter of playoff games doesn’t mean those trends have to stay that way.

Kyle Shanahan has now been on the wrong side of three crushing postseason losses in which his teams have had a fourth-quarter lead of at least 10 points, all of those netting zero points scored in the fourth quarter in response.

If there’s a notable takeaway, though, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid long had an association with fourth-quarter meltdowns, and one could make the argument it took the presence of Patrick Mahomes to turn things around, although Kansas City’s fourth-quarter collapse to the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship game over the weekend isn’t necessarily a good look either.

Still, having an elite-level quarterback capable of making those deciding-point plays when the game is on the line might be just as vital as any head coach’s play-calling abilities.

San Francisco’s current starting quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, was incapable of doing just that during Super Bowl LIV and in the NFC Championship game. In both games, he shrunk when the 49ers needed him to be at his best.

Perhaps that’s a big reason why the Niners invested so heavily in 2021 rookie quarterback Trey Lance, essentially meaning Garoppolo will be jettisoned during the offseason.

Whether or not Lance will cover up Shanahan’s fourth-quarter woes, or hopefully wind up aiding Shanahan’s improvement in this regard, is anyone’s guess.

For now, though, Shanahan will have to wear that stain of fourth-quarter collapses despite all the other positive influences he’s brought to San Francisco.

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