Sat. Mar 2nd, 2024

The last time the 49ers played in the Super Bowl, the path was easy. Perhaps too easy. Perhaps they weren’t ready for a tough, challenging game against the Chiefs for the championship.

If so, they’ll be better prepared for a difficult game this time around, given that they had to scratch and claw in both playoff games to get to the last one.

49ers coach Kyle Shanahan was asked on Monday whether there’s an advantage to having a couple of “gut-check” games the past two weekends.

“I always think when you go through stuff like this it hardens you and prepares you for any situation,” Shanahan said. “You want to be able to go through tons of games and be able to win games any way possible. I always feel we’re capable of winning a game any way possible, but it just hasn’t gone that way this year totally. We’ve been able to win a bunch of games pretty easily where that fourth quarter isn’t so stressful. The ones that we lost usually you could see that happening earlier before that too. So to get in some games like this, it’s just good experience for our players to go through it and to make sure to see how important it is to go through all four quarters win or lose that you’re never out of it.”

Four years ago, they had the Super Bowl in the bag, up 10 points with 7:13 to play and the Chiefs facing third and 15 from their own 35 when the play called “Jet Chip Wasp” resulted in a 44-yard throw to Tyreek Hill and, four plays later, a touchdown.

The Chiefs then took the lead, and the 49ers couldn’t answer, once they fell behind by four with 2:44 to play. If they’re in a similar situation this time, they’ll definitely be ready for it, given that the two playoff games they played before Super Bowl LIV were suffocations by San Francisco.

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