What's next for the 49ers after Super Bowl loss?

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February 4th, 2020

The San Francisco 49ers were one quarter away from winning the Super Bowl on Sunday.

And then it went sideways.

After an impressive 13-3 season that erased the awful memories of the previous five losing seasons, the 49ers just couldn’t get it done in the final minutes against the Kansas City Chiefs, and that opens the door for speculation about where this team goes from here.

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Can the 49ers trust Garoppolo as their starting QB?

This might seem like a harsh question, considering in his first full year as a starter, Jimmy Garoppolo made it to the Super Bowl and was a quarter away from winning.

He didn’t have a bad year, statistically. Not outstanding, but not bad, either. 

But it became evident in the playoffs that the 49ers didn’t have the trust in their quarterback you would expect a from a contending team. He attempted a total of 27 passes in the two previous playoff games, and only eight in the NFC Championship Game, as the run game was the catalyst for the offense.

That’s why it was strange to see the 49ers, with a 10-point lead in the Super Bowl and facing arguably the most dynamic quarterback in the game, put the ball in Garoppolo’s hands as they looked to close that game out.

When the Chiefs came storming back to take the lead, that left Kyle Shanahan no choice. Garoppolo, who had not been asked to shoulder the load in the playoffs, was suddenly put into a situation where he needed to execute a touchdown drive to win a championship.

The result? He missed a wide-open Emmanuel Sanders on a deep ball and was sacked on fourth down. On the next drive, he threw his second interception of the game—a turnover that cemented the win for Kansas City.

Garoppolo is about to enter the third year of a five-year contract, worth just more than $137 million.

Can the 49ers trust Garoppolo to be the guy to take them over the top? He was given multiple opportunities Sunday and couldn’t deliver.

Richard Sherman ready to call it a career?

At the age of 31, Richard Sherman had a solid season within the 49ers defense, at a time when he is, based on age, on the downside of his career and with an Achilles injury in his past.

He uses any perceived slight as fuel to drive his success, but he had a rough evening against the Chiefs.

Oh, and we have this, too:  

There has been speculation about possible retirement for Sherman, who will celebrate his 32nd birthday in March. He has one more year left on his three-year contract that’s worth $9 million per season.

Despite what happened Sunday, it doesn’t sound like Sherman is done yet. 

So close, yet so far once again for Shanahan

Kyle Shanahan is getting ripped again for his decisions in the fourth quarter of a Super Bowl.

As offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons in 2016, Shanahan was criticized for his playcalling in the fourth quarter against the New England Patriots. 

As head coach of the 49ers, he’s getting carved up again—this time for essentially abandoning a run game, which was San Francisco’s bread and butter all postseason, with a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter against Kansas City.

The 49ers offense was unable to execute the plays called, their defense suddenly couldn’t defend Patrick Mahomes, and the Chiefs took over. 

Much like Andy Reid endured for years—a negative reputation about his perplexing decisions and clock management until Sunday’s win for the Chiefs—it may take a long time (and a championship) for Shanahan to escape the onslaught of criticism about his performances on football's biggest stage.

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