Once Jimmie Ward lassoed down Tyreek Hill on a fateful, third-and-15 completion, plenty of time minutes remained in Super Bowl LIV.
Then what happened?
“The last five minutes, we just didn’t finish,” Ward recalled Tuesday, six months after the 49ers’ 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs. “It seemed they wanted it more than us and that’s why they won the game.”
Hill’s 44-yard reception, after darting past cornerback Emmanuel Moseley, served as the flashpoint to the Chiefs’ comeback and it came with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.
“It took me a while to finally watch it, a month or two,” Ward said of the Super Bowl. “Watched it 10 or 20 times. I don’t know. You have to get over it and think how you can get better until Game 1.”
Ward re-signed in March (three years, $28.5 million) to dig back into the free safety role with a one-day-at-a-time approach to a Super Bowl return.
What if the Chiefs return, too?
“Whenever you play the Chiefs, make sure everybody runs to the ball,” Ward said. “We were doing a pretty good job of that. They’ve got a lot of fast guys who can get (yards) after the catch, a scrambling quarterback and just finish.
“It’s all about the finish.”
The 49ers are schedule to start this season Sept. 13 at Levi’s Stadium against the Arizona Cardinals.
Ward is entrenched at free safety, but he’s capable of playing elsewhere in the secondary, as he showed in the Super Bowl by often lining up near the line of scrimmage against slot receivers.
“Just make sure you watch that first game because I could be playing anywhere,” Ward added. “Could be playing safety, could me man coverage, could be blitzing, could be playing zone. Who knows. First game.”
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Author: Cam Inman