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USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Kyle Madson

Takeaways from 49ers Super Bowl loss to Chiefs

The 49ers on Sunday lost Super Bowl LVIII to the Chiefs 25-22 in overtime.

San Francisco had many, many chances to take control of the game early and never quite got a strong enough grasp on it to keep Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce from wrestling it away.

Here are our takeaways from another abysmal Super Bowl loss for the 49ers:

Blown opportunities

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The 49ers had chances early in the game to put the Chiefs away. San Francisco’s defense held Kansas City to just three first-half points, but the 49ers offense couldn’t figure out how to put up more than one touchdown and 10 points. Then they began the second half with a takeaway and couldn’t capitalize, got another stop and couldn’t extend the lead, and from there the wheels slowly fell off as the Chiefs juggernaut took over.

Special teams miscues

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Two special teams miscues swung the game for San Francisco. Kansas City was trailing 10-6 when they punted to Ray-Ray McCloud. The punt bounced off of 49ers CB Darrell Luter Jr.’s foot, and then McCloud tried to pick it up instead of falling on it and allowed the Chiefs to recover.

The second one was a blocked extra point after the 49ers took a 16-13 lead on Kansas City. Jake Moody’s low kick got batted down and allowed the Chiefs to tie the game with field goals instead of needing touchdowns.

All three phases matter and the 49ers didn’t do well enough in the third one.

Can't stop Mahomes

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Mahomes is just too good and the 49ers let him hang around. After the first half he was 11-of-13 for 123 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. In the second half and overtime he went 23-of-33 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also had a couple of key scrambles and finished the second half with seven carries for 59 yards. That was why the 49ers needed to take control early because Mahomes’ inevitability lingered.

George Kittle absent?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kittle, one of the 49ers’ best players, finished the game with two catches for four yards on three targets. Unless he was really banged up, there’s no good answer for why he wasn’t more involved in a passing game that stagnated at times in the second half.

Leaned on CMC

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Christian McCaffrey needed to be a prominent player for the 49ers and he was Sunday. He racked up 160 scrimmage yards and a receiving touchdown. He put together 80 rushing yards on 22 carries, and then added eight catches for 80 receiving yards on eight targets. McCaffrey was at his very best in the biggest game of the year, although his first quarter fumble was one of the early mistakes from San Francisco that might have kept them from opening a bigger lead.

Jake Moody almost perfect

Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Moody was nearly perfect Sunday. He was three-for-three on field goal attempts including a pair of 50-plus yard tries. He also connected from 27 in overtime. The blocked extra point is a significant blemish, but Moody came through with a couple of huge kicks for San Francisco after having a very up-and-down year.

The injury bug

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The 49ers entered Sunday’s game injury-free, but they suffered a slew of key injuries during the game. Linebacker Dre Greenlaw suffered an Achilles injury in the first half. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel had a hamstring issue that pushed him out for a bit in the third quarter. He returned, but he wasn’t the same after going down. George Kittle also left the game briefly and on a key second-down play his replacement, Brayden Willis was called for a hold that negated a run for a first down in overtime.

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