12 minutes. There were exactly 12 minutes left when Kansas City Chiefs quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, threw his second interception of the game to 49ers’ safety Tarvarius Moore.

At that point, almost every 49er fan out there, whether they were watching at home, at a bar, in Miami, hell, even on their phone, knew that the team was within striking distance of closing the game out for good.

At the point of the interception, it was already 20-10, with the 49ers in the lead. The feeling of the game was that after halftime (the game was tied at 10) the team was controlling the Chiefs for the most part.

Jimmy Garoppolo, the starting QB for the 49ers, was having a solid game, throwing for over 200 yards and a touchdown at that point. Aside from him, the running game of the team was averaging an astonishing 7 yards per carry (in perspective, league average is about 4 per carry).

 

It felt destined that the 49ers were going to win. The coaches, the players, and the fans all knew destiny and fate were on the team’s side.

Once the 49ers got the ball back at the 12-minute mark, it was all downhill from there.

The following possessions with the ball in the 4th quarter follows like this for the 49ers: punt, punt, turnover on downs, interception. When a football teams puts up those kinds of sorrowful results, the ending will not be good. And, as expected, the end was awful.

Jimmy Garoppolo in the 4th quarter: 3/11, 36 passing yards, and a lowly 2.8 passer rating. Needless to say, he was not able to work his magic and lead the team to its first Super Bowl victory in 25 years.

Even after Garoppolo’s failure, it was shocking to see that Kyle Shanahan strayed away from the run game, which for the most part, was having a pretty solid game on the ground.

Raheem Mostert carried the ball 12 times for 58 yards and a touchdown. Tevin Coleman also had a good game, rushing for 28 yards on 5 carries. But the real story wasn’t from a running back, it was from wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who was shredding the Chiefs on end around runs, carrying the ball only 3 times, but averaging 17 yards per carry, and finishing with a total of 53 yards.

Even though the blueprint for beating the Chiefs was pretty much established, Kansas City still wound up winning 31-20, as they had scored 21 unanswered points in the second half of the 4th quarter to seal the deal for their first Super Bowl win in exactly 50 years.

Their ensuing possession results after the interception: Touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, kneel down.

The reason for that? Patrick Mahomes. In the 4th quarter alone, he went 10/16, throwing for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns, to go along with the one interception.

There’s only one phrase that can describe the reactions of millions of 49ers fans that witnessed one of the biggest collapses in Super Bowl history: heartbreaking.

There can be many reasons as to why the 49ers lost, but if anyone has any one thing to blame, it’s execution.

Former NFL and AFL star cornerback, Eric Crocker, believes that execution was the reason the 49ers couldn’t clinch the victory.

“I think it ultimately came down to execution. The 49ers had been sound all season and made the plays necessary to close out games. In the Super Bowl, they weren’t as sound down the stretch on both offense and defense, Very uncharacteristic of them. So I won’t put the loss on one person or group. As a whole, they just fell apart within the last 7 minutes of the game.”

Even after a season in which very few people believed the 49ers could make it this far (49ers had 40/1 odds of making Super Bowl) the season as a whole can be considered successful. Finishing the season at an astounding 13-3 record, after the previous season being 4-12, the sky is really the limit for this team.

Keep in mind, the 49ers are only the 4th team in NFL history to make the Super Bowl after only winning 4 games or fewer the previous season, nonetheless a very impressive statistic.

Overall, the game from an outside fan perspective, could not have gone any better. Each team fought and battled to the very end, even if the desired results did not come to fruition.

Overall however, the future is more than bright for this young and hungry 49ers team.

“My confidence level going into next season is extremely high.” Crocker says. “The core group of the team will be back. As well as the coaching staff. With young play makers on offense and defense, specifically Deebo Samuel and Nick Bosa entering their second season, [as well as] Garoppolo finally getting a whole season under his belt, I see the 49ers once again competing and winning the West. Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch have built a solid foundation.”

A team that many viewed as underwhelming and more or less an afterthought, defied all odds and went up against one of the best offenses the NFL has ever seen. This team will definitely be back, and they will be even hungrier to come back as one of the favorites to win the Super Bowl next season.