SANTA CLARA — John Lynch was gratified to see the 49ers respond to deficits in each of their first two playoff wins even if his mind drifts back to the last time they faced the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl.
The 49ers trailed Green Bay 21-14 with 5:23 left in the third quarter and won 24-21. They trailed Detroit 24-7 at halftime and won 34-31. In Super Bowl LIV In Miami, the Chiefs trailed the 49ers 20-10 in the fourth quarter and lost 31-20.
Which is why playing a full 60 minutes will be crucial when the 49ers face the Chiefs again at Allegiant Stadium on Feb. 11. And even with a good start, the 49ers learned in Miami four years ago that Patrick Mahomes is a finisher.
The only sure-fire solution? Start fast . . . and finish faster.
“The play is never dead,” Lynch, the 49ers’ general manager, said Friday. “He can play in rhythm. He can extend. You think you have him tackled and the next thing you know, he’s spun out . . . I’ve got a lot of really painful memories, things that keep you up at night, things that drive you and fuel you about that last experience. Six-and-change (minutes left) and we’re up 10. You remember those things.
“The best way to do that is to attack everything we do, with us starting fast, being on the details play after play, and finish everything we do.”
Lynch addressed a number of topics with local reporters during the 49ers’ final media availability before departing Sunday for Las Vegas.
There were two pieces of news Lynch declined to discuss. He said there is a plan to replace assistant general manager Adam Peters, who took the GM position in Washington, and that the successor would come internally. He also wouldn’t confirm an ESPN report that passing game specialist Klint Kubiak would become the offensive coordinator of the New Orleans Saints.
Among the topics Lynch discussed, with answers edited for brevity:
Winning a championship with this group
“Nobody really remembers who lost in a Super Bowl. If you want to be remembered, if you want to be excellent, if you want to have the drive to reach the pinnacle of your profession, here’s your opportunity, so what a great opportunity. And especially against a team that is kind of staking their claim to one of the dynasties.”
CEO Jed York’s assertion that Kyle Shanahan identified Brock Purdy as the future early on
“I was there when he told Jed that, and my jaw hit the floor. He’d told me that, but Kyle often runs things by me if they’re crazy. Kyle and I had been talking. We liked Brock early. But it was in a really limited fashion that what we’d seen. We had a hunch we had a chance to have something special.”
York saying Shanahan wondered if making the McCaffrey trade was a good idea
“Kyle is usually pedal to the metal, and, actually, he was the one guy showing some restraint when everybody else was pedal to the metal, because we saw it in striking distance. There were a lot of motivations. Kyle was just tying to be smart – ‘Are you sure?’ ”
Christian McCaffrey (23) was acquired in a trade debated by coach Kyle Shanahan, G.M. John Lynch and CEO Jed York. Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group
Instances vs. Detroit where defensive effort was lacking
“Effort’s a non-negotiable. That’s one of our core values. I believe that in my heart of hearts. We’ve got four Hall of Famers who represent the defense I played in in Tampa, and if you ask each one of us what was our calling card, it starts with effort — that being a non-negotiable. Those things have been addressed. We’ve got one game. I’d really be shocked if we saw that again.”
Shanahan’s ability to replace coaches
“He coaches his coaches extremely well. He’s extremely demanding . . . he tasks each and every individual, ‘Hey, this is your job, own it, and own it well.’ I think when you have someone who is knowledgeable, who is demanding on his expectations, they know they’d better come prepared or they’ll get sent out. Part of my job is to pick em up after they get humbled.”
The difficulty of the journey
“Some of the hardest days I can ever remember are the day after, whether it was last year or the previous couple . . . . it starts with truly believing in your core and every fiber of your body that that’s what we’re here for, to win championships. that’s what our organization is about. The hardest thing is with the Ronnie Lotts, the Steve Youngs, the Joe Montanas, when we haven’t done that, because those guys had our backs and we want to have theirs.”
Nick Bosa’s Saturday speeches
“I hear every one of them. You don’t miss those because they’re special. He doesn’t say a lot, but when he does it’s very prophetic . . . it’s the substance of what he says, and I think his teammates look forward to it because it gives us a little direction. It’s become must-see viewing and it’s become an important part of who we are.”
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“Never did I think (Gipson) would give us what he has give us. I’ve stopped looking for him to kind of hit the decline, because he’s not. He’s playing an integral role, like he did vs. Detroit with the strip fumble. He has a knack for making big-time plays . . . we’re very appreciative of how (Ryan) has picked us up playing safety against the packers, playing nickel in our last game, and he obviously knows how to win.”
Confidence in kicker Jake Moody
“A lot of people want to talk about some challenes he’s had. I like to look at how he responds to those. And he’s very steady . . . we have a lot of confidence in Jake, we still have a lot of confidence, because we see it day in and day out. I think he’s ready for the moment.”