Super Bowl Takeaways: The Rainbow Connection Saves Mahomes; Kyle Shanahan Let ‘Em Off the Hook

Plus, an uneven Jimmy Garoppolo and the missed throw that will haunt him, the right call on Kittle, the Chiefs’ pre-snap choreography, and much more.
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Reacting and overreacting to everything that happened during Super Bowl LIV . . .

Things That Made Me Giddy

Mahomes, Tyreek, and the Rainbow Connection: Someday they’ll find it—which is what Chiefs fans were surely saying as Mahomes uncharacteristically sprayed the ball all evening (they also might have been wondering why there are so many songs about rainbows). This was a must-have third-and-15, and the Chiefs converted it with a perfect example of their improvisational playmaking ability.

Robert Saleh Had Mahomes Rattled: The 49ers defensive coordinator’s one mistake was the third-and-10 blitz call that left Tarvarius Moore one-on-one with Travis Kelce (the result was pass interference in the end zone, a 20-yard penalty). Other than that, the mix of their classic Cover-3, some 2-man, and multiple well-timed blitzes was outstanding.

A Kyle Juszczyk Kind of Night: As it should have been against those Chiefs linebackers.

SI PRESENTS: Celebrate the Chiefs' Super Bowl victory with a special commemorative issue of Sports Illustrated

This Chiefs Pre-Snap Motion: Pretty sure this is the same choreography Beck used on SNL in 1997, after the breakdown on “Where It’s At.” Anyway, it looked neat and then they converted a fourth-and-inches.

Damien Williams as a Creator: He was nifty in space all evening, and the Chiefs needed it as Mahomes struggled early.

The Kittle Offensive Pass Interference Call: At the end of the first half. It was tough, but it was right. The push, with full arm extension, created the late separation. Sadly, he won the route and the throw was there—the push-off wasn't needed.

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Regrets

A Far Too Conservative Kyle Shanahan: John Lynch was right to want that time out at the end of the first half when the 49ers got a third-down stop at midfield. (It’s Patrick Mahomes on the other side; he scores points!) Shanahan was unfairly maligned for his aggressive play-calling in Super Bowl LI, but on Sunday he was far too conservative. They ended up with a first down on their own 45 with 14 seconds left—instead of a minute-plus—and no points to show for it.

Patrick Mahomes Was Not Himself: The offensive line couldn’t handle the Niners' pass rush, but Mahomes’s ball placement was erratic and he never found a rhythm. Maybe it was the stage, maybe it was the extended layoffs between drives. But, hey, the night ended with a Super Bowl MVP award.

Jimmy Garoppolo Was Uneven: Not a disastrous performance—he made some throws in-structure and he had his best throw of the night called back because of an unnecessary George Kittle push-off—but it also was not good enough. It will be interesting to see whether he’s any sharper in Year 2 off the ACL.

Missing Emmanuel Sanders Will Haunt Jimmy Garoppolo: Like Frankenberry haunted me throughout my childhood. That was not an easy throw by any means, but it is open, and it very well could have been the Super Bowl winner.

Kyle Shanahan Had a Bead on Them Coming Out of Halftime: Considering what the 49ers did to the Chiefs' defense in the third quarter, it’s—pardon my language—flabbergasting that the 49ers failed to score on their final four possessions.

Garoppolo Can’t See Kittle?: He missed a wide-open Kittle on a third down in the second quarter. And while it was tough to tell on the broadcast angle, it looked like Kittle had toasted Daniel Sorensen right at the snap on what was Garoppolo’s interception.

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What We’ll Be Talking About This Week

The 49ers Will Be Back?: You’d like to think so—they’re young, talented and well-coached. But the NFC is stacked, and over the last decade, only the Seahawks have represented the NFC more than once.

No One Wants Bieniemy or Saleh: Are you sure? (Jaguars?)

Yeah, But Andy Reid Barely Won the Super Bowl: I mean, bad playoff coach, right? RIGHT? You could argue that having Patrick Mahomes makes it easy on a coach, but Mahomes had maybe the worst performance of his career on Sunday, and the Chiefs scratched it out anyway. That’s Reid's 15th career postseason win, sixth-most all time, if you’re scoring at home.

Thanks for Stopping in to Freak Out This Season: I can’t think of a better way to wrap things up than the greatest end credits song of all time: Mark Mothersbaugh’s composition for Pee-Wee’s Playhouse:

• Question or comment? Email us at talkback@themmqb.com.

More SI Super Bowl LIV Coverage
* Michael Rosenberg: Patrick Mahomes Is Here To Stay
* Conor Orr: After Years of Heartbreak, Chiefs Are Champions
* Conor Orr: Shanahan Absorbs Gut-Punch Super Bowl Loss
* Kalyn Kahler: Reaction From the Niners' Stunned Locker Room
* Charlotte Wilder: Super Bowl LIV Was One Giant Spectacle

More From SI.com Team Sites:
* Niners Fall Agonizingly Short In Super Bowl
* Kittle Reflects on Turning Point of Niners' Loss