There were several key plays the San Francisco 49ers can look back and point to as being a difference-maker in their 13-10 upset of the Green Bay Packers, but one play in particular stood out to Kyle Shanahan more than an hour after the game had ended.
It was third-and-7 from the Green Bay 38-yard line and 1:03 seconds remaining on the clock and the 49ers were lined up for a pass play.
With four seconds left on the play clock, Shanahan called a timeout.
“In those conditions, the gotta-have-it yard line was the 35,” Shanahan told NBC Sports’ Peter King. “That was where we had to get to for the longest possible field goal. So I was thinking, man, to have a good chance at this we gotta get a four- or five-yard gain. I was worried we couldn’t do that with the run, so I went to a pass.
“But I also knew they had no timeouts. If we did a pass and it didn’t work, Aaron [Rodgers] was gonna get it back with 40 or 45 seconds.”
During the regular season, the 49ers lost to the Packers after Rodgers led Green Bay into field goal range with 37 seconds on the clock.
“Yeah, we’ve seen that before,” Shanahan said. “So we called the pass, the pass I liked. I let them go to the line and then I just thought, ‘It’s not worth it.’ I’ve seen it with Aaron We had a motion on, but once we got to the line, I thought I was gonna call a timeout. So I let us start the motion and then I called time.
“Then I was like, ‘Guys, we gotta run it. At least if we don’t get five yards, at least I know we’re going to overtime. We’ll let it run down to 15 seconds or whatever and punt.”
The Niners ran a handoff to Deebo Samuel and the rest is history. Samuel broke a few tackles and not only picked up the yardage they needed for a field goal, he got the first down all the way to the Green Bay 29.
The Niners were able to run out the clock and let Robbie Gould kick a 45-yard field goal as time expired for the win.
“I guess it ended up being a great decision,” Shanahan said.