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The 49ers easily beat the Steelers on Sunday, 30-7. The margin didn’t stop coach Kyle Shanahan from keeping key players on the field when the game seemed decided.

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During a Wednesday news conference, Shanahan was asked about the decision to allow linebacker Fred Warner to play every snap, give running back Christian McCaffrey three carries with a 20-point lead midway through the fourth quarter and have defensive end Nick Bosa on the field. field for at least one play with three minutes left.

“You bring guys in when you think the game is over and you do it from experience and we didn’t think the game was over when that time comes,” Shanahan said. “Now, at some point during that campaign, because it took so long, we debated whether to take them out before that campaign or not. “We had been in that situation before and decided not to do it.”

A similar situation happened to the 49ers in Detroit two years ago, when a 24-point lead nearly disappeared.

“That’s huge,” Shanahan said of the experience from Week 1 of the 2021 season. “That happened to us personally. I think it was 41-17 with 1:58 left. And they had the ball in 17 seconds, 20 yards away, seven points less. . . . That is a personal situation, but I see it happening in many places.”

That’s exactly what happened. The 49ers led 41-17 with two minutes left. The Lions scored with 1:56 left. The two-point conversion made the score 41-25. The Lions recovered an onside kick, Detroit drove for a touchdown and another two-point conversion made the score 41-25.

As the 49ers recovered the ensuing onside kick, a fumble gave the Lions a chance to force overtime. Only when the Lions failed to convert on fourth-and-nine from the San Francisco 24 was the game over.

So nothing’s over until it’s over, and no team should take its foot off the gas until it’s clear it’s truly over.


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