49ers’ Kyle Shanahan revisits NFC Championship comeback, looks ahead to Super Bowl

49ers’ Kyle Shanahan revisits NFC Championship comeback, looks ahead to Super Bowl

SANTA CLARA — Five months after packing their bags for Las Vegas to open the NFL’s preseason, the 49ers are making an encore to play in Super Bowl LVIII.

The 49ers did not make any public vows in August about coming back for a hand at the Lombardi Trophy jackpot. That was the unspoken goal, however.

“We try not to talk about it. The biggest thing we talk about is winning games in our division so we can get into the tournament, then we look to the playoffs,” coach Kyle Shanahan said Monday.

They’ve advanced through the NFC playoffs with a pair of comeback wins, and they used Sunday’s 34-31 home victory to secure the conference crown and earn a Feb. 11 date with the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII.

“We’ve kind of hit all those goals this year. We hit our second-to-last one (Sunday night) and we’ve got one left,” Shanahan added. “We would have been disappointed if we didn’t get to this point, and we’re going to be disappointed if we don’t finish the job in two weeks.

“Hopefully we’ll end it the right way and take a few months off, and do the same (goal setting) in training camp next year.”

The 49ers didn’t take Monday off. They reconvened to review film of Sunday’s comeback from a 24-7 halftime deficit, then a late-afternoon meeting was set for players to go over ticket and travel plans for their families and friends.

Shanahan vowed to have the game plan installed ahead of their final practices in Santa Clara, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. “When you wait to do (game-plan) stuff there, it’s too hectic,” Shanahan said of Super Bowl week. “You can always change things. But you want to get most of your heavy work done before you get there.”

Once in Las Vegas, the team will stay about 30 minutes from the Vegas Strip at Lake Las Vegas, as will the Chiefs, only in different hotels. The 49ers will practice at UNLV, while the Chiefs invade the Raiders’ facility at their AFC West rival’s headquarters in Henderson.

“We’re real proud of what we’ve accomplished in five years but we still want to be the one team that’s happy (at season’s end),” Shanahan said. “We’ve gotten close. We’re real proud we’re back in this situation. But we also know how it feels when you don’t get it done. We want to go and make sure we get it done this year.”


In the team’s video of his postgame locker-room address, Shanahan hailed the 49ers’ character to fight for a whole game, then he added: “As always, this is not the one we set out to get. It’s not the one we set out to get.”

Linebacker Fred Warner followed up and broke up the meeting by saying: “He said it all right there: one more to go.”


Brock Purdy’s fourth playoff win put him in select company, as only three other quarterbacks pulled off that feat their first two seasons: Russell Wilson (Seahawks), Mark Sanchez (Jets) and Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers), with the latter having won a Super Bowl for his fifth playoff win in the 2005 season.

Shanahan reviewed film with Purdy and the quarterbacks Monday afternoon before getting on his media conference call. Shanahan said there was not any particular play that commanded teaching points, but rather they emphasized coverages, reads, footwork and technique.


Tight end George Kittle (toe) and cornerback Ambry Thomas (ankle) were the only players injured in Sunday’s game, as reported by Shanahan. Neither injury appears to threaten their Super Bowl availability. Running back Christian McCaffrey said an hour after the game he felt fine after an apparent nerve stinger to his neck and shoulder; he landed on his head at the end of a 25-yard run to set up their final score.


Shanahan was still in awe Monday over Brandon Aiyuk’s 51-yard catch highlighted the 49ers’ third-quarter surge that eliminated their 17-point deficit.

“B.A. also made two huge third-down plays last week (in the playoff opener against Green Bay) on low throws and we probably wouldn’t have won without those,” Shanahan said. “When we were down this game and they were running away early, B.A. almost came down with another low catch

“To come back and completely redeem himself even more with one of the biggest catches in the biggest moments is one we’ll be hugely grateful for our whole lives.”


Some teams bring in veteran coaches to help consult with Super Bowl strategies, which is what the Philadlephia Eagles did a year ago with defensive guru Vic Fangio. Shanahan said he has not given consideration for hiring a consultant from a field of veteran coaches who’ve hit the unemployment line, such as Bill Belichick, Pete Carroll, Ron Rivera and Mike Vrabel. “I wouldn’t say never. But not right now. I’m not thinking about it,” Shanahan said.

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ unit will face a tough test that Shanahan knows all too well in counterpart Andy Reid.

“Andy’s done it for so long and always had success going all the way back to Philly,” Shanahan said. “… He’s always been so tough to go against, how he spreads it around, the formations, he’s always staying on top of stuff. Then you give him the type of quarterback he has (in Patrick Mahomes), it’s definitely not a coincidence in how many games they’ve won together and how they seem to be in this situation every year.”


McCaffrey has scored in all five of his playoff games with the 49ers, the longest streak in franchise history. With at least one touchdown and produced at least 50 yards in each of his first six career playoff games, and he can join Marcus Allen (Raiders) and Terrell Davis (Broncos) by doing so in a NFL-record seventh in the Super Bowl.


Fred Warner is now the 49ers’ official leading tackler in postseason history, with Sunday’s 13 tackles marking his most in a playoff game and raising his career total to 84. Next on the all-time franhise list are NaVorro Bowman (78), Ken Norton Jr. (73), Patrick Willis (71) and Dre Greenlaw (69)

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