49ers’ Shanahan Says It’s Fair After Bills-Chiefs

The coin toss controversy is back, courtesy of Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

For what it’s worth, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan isn’t buying it.

Mahomes braved his team to lead his team on the 75-yard, eight-game track for the decisive match-up in Sunday night’s 42-36 win over the Buffalo Bills in the first ever extra-time. Partner Josh Allen, once as great as Mahomes during the all-time classic playoffs, was never brought on from the bench.

Those are the rules. Score, game over.

Truth be told, if the NFL decided today to let both teams have an offensive hold in extra time, I’d be fine with that. But the rule as it stands is not a death sentence when it comes to discriminating between winners and losers. The game does not go to the beginning or the end.

Shanahan has some experience of success and failure overtime. The 49ers have won extra time twice this season against the Cincinnati and the Los Angeles Rams because his defense did not allow a single touch of the ball.

At 20-20, the Bengals sent the ball to the 19-yard line in their first possession, but Nick Bosa knocked Joe Burrow out in the third and third rounds. Cincinnati had to shoot the ball out, the 49ers got the ball back and Jimmy Garoppolo helped them make the decisive touch and win 26-23.

Against the Rams in Week 18, the 49ers won the pitch, went to the Rams’ 8-yard line, stopped, and Robbie Gould hit the net 24 yards. The Rams had a chance to win, but rookie Ambry Thomas intercepted Matthew Stafford to win the match.

Bosa did a play. Thomas performed a play. It can happen, and defenders enjoy the opportunity.

Shanahan also experienced downsides, so to speak.

In the Super Bowl after the 2016 season as offensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Shanahan’s unit never saw the ball as the New England Patriots stretched the length of the field in first possession to win 31 -28.

Head coach Andy Reid said Monday to make things “equal” in extra time should probably include both sides, attack and defence.

Shanahan is fine with the way it is.

“It doesn’t bother me. I think you can stop someone on a touchdown if you want (the ball) back,” Shanahan said when I asked him about the rule on a conference call. “It was hard not to have (the ball), but I never felt it was unfair.”

He even said he was fine with time remaining until 2010, where a goal in the opening minute would end the game, although Shanahan prefers the current rule.

“They give us the rules, you know the rules, and that’s what you try to win the game,” Shanahan said. “My mind doesn’t change based on what happens.”

Allen, utterly frustrated by not scoring in extra time for the Bills, had reason to feel miserable. He is not.

“The rules are what they are, and I can’t complain about that because if it were the other way around, we would celebrate too,” Allen said.

Any defense that wants to be a champion should feel it can stop an ongoing game encounter. That’s all we’re really talking about. One ownership. Do or die. Mandatory a turnover. Get the ball back on the way down. Even coerce the target to create opportunities for your offense.

Buffalo ranked first in the NFL in defensive scoring (17.0) and least yards per game (272.8). Mahomes received the ball back 25 minutes into the regulation time with just 13 seconds left but put his team in position to score the match-fixing goal. Then the Bills gave it up for overtime.

And it was the coin toss that defeated the Buffalo? If that is the case, the Bill will go out of the field and the Head will celebrate the moment the coin lands on the field.

Look no further than the Raiders for proof that a coin toss does not determine the winner of overtime. They haven’t had a top-notch defense forever but have been trailing 8-1 for far too long under the current rules, which went into effect in 2010 for the knockout stages and 2012 in the regular season.

In each of those wins, both sides had the ball. Those extra defenses did their job.

In the playoff games since 2010, there have been 11 overtime games. Seven times the team that won the pitch scored the first touchdown to win the game. Of course you want the ball and a chance to score and finish it, but it’s not automatic.

When the 49ers hosted the New York Giants after the 2011 season for the NFC Championship, the Giants won the ball first, picked up one first, and beat. The 49ers replaced with Alex Smith and won three and lost.

In the end, they lost to Kyle Williams after a Giants man-in and a 31-yard goal from Lawrence Tynes.

No one blamed a penny that night. 49ers’ Shanahan Says It’s Fair After Bills-Chiefs


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