Five Super Bowl LIV plays that cost 49ers a victory over Kansas City

From Jimmy Garoppolo's overthrow to a pair of blown pass coverages, these fourth-quarter plays led to 49ers' loss

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) sits on the field after failing to convert a fourth down against the Kansas City Chiefs late in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Tarvarius Moore (33) is called for pass interference in the end zone against Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (87) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman (25) looks up at the scoreboard during the final two minutes of the fourth quarter of LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.,, on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Jaquiski Tartt (29) tackles against Kansas City Chiefs’ Tyreek Hill (10) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) and San Francisco 49ers’ Tarvarius Moore (33) leave the field after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 to win Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) is buried by the Kansas City defense in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman (25) walks off the field after the Kansas City Chiefs beat the 49ers 31-20 to win Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Emmanuel Sanders (17) lays on the ground after a failed touchdown pass from San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) in the fourth quarter of LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.,, on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: Kansas City Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins (14) makes a catch against San Francisco 49ers’ Richard Sherman (25) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

  • MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) walks off the field after being defeated by the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

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The 49ers were so frustratingly close Sunday night. They went from being poised to join the Patriots and Steelers for the most Super Bowl victories in history to a more ignominious fate — owners of the league’s worst Super Bowl record over the past 15 years.

And all it took was five plays for San Francisco’s fortunes to turn disastrous.

The game-changing fourth-quarter plays allowed the Chiefs to overcome a 10-point deficit while outscoring San Francisco 21-0 on their way to beating the 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV.

The 49ers and their fans don’t want to hear this, but their second Super Bowl loss in seven years also means since 2005 no other NFL team has lost as many as two Super Bowls without winning one.

Here’s a closer look at the five plays at Hard Rock Stadium that changed how history will view these 49ers:

1. Mahomes’ 44-yard pass to Hill during Chiefs’ comeback

With the Chiefs trailing 20-10 and just seven minutes left in the game, the 49ers had a great opportunity to get ever closer to their sixth Super Bowl win. But, with the Chiefs faced with a third-and-15 play, San Francisco’s defense couldn’t make the stop.

In what will likely be remembered as the most crucial play of the game, the speedy Tyreek Hill somehow got lost in coverage between cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and safety Jimmie Ward and was left wide open.

The Chiefs’ receiver then hauled in Patrick Mahomes’ pass for a game-altering first down at the 49ers’ 21. It led to a touchdown that pulled Kansas City to 20-17.

2. Garoppolo overthrows Sanders on potential game-winning play

MIAMI GARDENS, FL – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Emmanuel Sanders (17) lays on the ground after Jimmy Garoppolo overthrew him in the fourth quarter of LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla.,, on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group)

The 49ers were trailing 24-20 with 1:33 left in the game, and on third-and-10 from midfield Jimmy Garoppolo missed a chance for Super Bowl immortality.

With Emmanuel Sanders having sped past Chiefs rookie nickel back Rashad Fenton by a couple steps, all the 49ers needed was a big-time throw from Garoppolo. Jimmy G, though, couldn’t quite deliver. His pass sailed five yards past Sanders and bounced harmlessly off the turf.

While Garoppolo made some early plays early on to help put San Francisco in front, he wasn’t at his best in the final quarter, going just 3-of-11 for 36 yards and an interception. Garoppolo finished 20-of-31 for 219 yards, one touchdown and a pair of interceptions for a suboptimal 69.2 passer rating.

3. Crucial pass interference on 49ers’ Tarvarius Moore

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 2: San Francisco 49ers’ Tarvarius Moore (33) is called for pass interference in the end zone against Kansas City Chiefs’ Travis Kelce (87) in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

Three plays after giving up Mahomes’ big throw to Hill, the San Francisco defense faltered again on a third-and-10 from its own 21.

Tarvarius Moore, who had an interception and a key pass break up earlier in the game, was called for pass interference on a key play. While trying to cover Chiefs’ Pro Bowler Travis Kelce at the goal line, Moore had his back to Mahomes and couldn’t help but run into the tight end and get called for a blatant foul.

The ball was placed at the 1 and, on the next play, Mahomes hit Kelce for the touchdown to pull Kansas City within 20-17 with 6:13 left.

4. Richard Sherman gets beat deep in fourth quarter

On Kansas City’s late, game-winning drive, 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman’s speed was no match for the Chiefs’ Sammy Watkins.

Sherman couldn’t keep up with Watkins, who easily raced past him to give Mahomes a chance to find him on a second-and-7 play from midfield. Mahomes put a feathery touch on a pass that Watkins caught in stride down the right sideline for a 38-yard gain down to the San Francisco 10.

Three plays later, Mahomes found Damien Williams on a 5-yard touchdown pass with 2:44 left for the eventual game-winning score and a 24-20 lead.

5. Two costly 49ers incompletions with 5:30 left

OK, so we cheated and gave you six plays, but the back-to-back pass plays on second-and-5 and the 49ers clinging to a 20-17 lead were maddening enough for many of the 49er Faithful to lump them together.

The 49ers, who came into the game having run the ball for 471 yards in their two playoff victories, seemingly had a chance to run some time off the clock and perhaps ice the game. They had averaged 6.4 yards per carry against the Chiefs but instead chose to put the game in Garoppolo’s hands with 5:30 minutes remaining.

Garoppolo had a pass knocked down at the line by the Chiefs’ Chris Jones and he then misfired again while targeting Kendrick Bourne on third down.

“We were grateful they got out of the run and started to throw the ball,” Kansas City safety Tyrann Mathieu said of the 49ers’ play-calling.

The three-and-out only took 1:03 off the clock and resulted in a second straight series ending with a Mitch Wishnowsky punt and gave Mahomes another opportunity he didn’t miss.

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