Kyle Shanahan's main goal at the end of the first half seemed to be to not let the Green Bay Packers have any time to score before halftime. And he did accomplish that.
In worrying so much about that, he probably cost his own team a shot at more points.
There was a strange clock management sequence for Shanahan and the San Francisco 49ers at the end of the first half of their divisional playoff game Saturday. Despite an offense full of stars, Shanahan seemed way more concerned with the Packers possibly getting the ball back than actually trying to score.
The 49ers took over possession with 4:09 left in the second quarter, leading 7-6. They were set to get the ball to start the second half. Teams like to score at the end of the first half and get the ball back to start the second half. That's great, until it leads to a suboptimal approach to the last few minutes of the half.
The 49ers played it very slow on their drive. With a little more than a minute left in the half the 49ers were only to the Packers' 43-yard line. They let the clock run all the way down before a third-down play and took their first timeout with 34 seconds left. That practically meant that even if they got the first down they were playing for a field goal, not a touchdown.
The 49ers had to use another timeout after the next play, then had to spike the ball to stop the clock after another first down and that cost them. The 49ers went for a field goal on fourth down after the spike, with 10 seconds left. It was a 48-yard field goal because the 49ers weren't aggressive trying to get closer. The kick was blocked and the 49ers got no points to end the first half.
Fortunately for Shanahan, the debacle didn't cost him as the 49ers went on to win 24-21 in dramatic fashion.
— NFL (@NFL) January 21, 2024
At least the Packers didn't have a shot at a score before the end of the half.
The 49ers didn't have a great first half against the Packers in the rain. They still did lead at halftime. But it felt like it could have been a bigger lead if the 49ers would have tried just a little harder to score.