Should the 49ers have taken a tie at the end of overtime on Monday night? It’s a fair question, given the benefit of emerging from the game with a two-game lead in the loss column over the Seahawks, Saints, and Packers.
49ers coach Kyle Shanahan dismissed the notion of intentionally killing the clock with 1:50 remaining and the ball on the San Francisco 20.
“If we would’ve thought three runs were the best plays to go with, we would’ve done that,” Shanahan told reporters. “Just running, not trying to get yards and run the clock off, I think you know that aswer. I’m pretty sure that we all know that answer. I would hope that everyone in the world would be pretty disappointed in that.”
Not everyone would have been disappointed in that, especially if the 49ers parlayed their eventual whatever-whatever-and-1 record into the No. 1 seed. Instead, if the Seahawks enter Week 17 one game in the standings behind the 49ers and if the Seahawks beat the 49ers in Seattle and capture the NFC West championship on the head-to-head tiebreaker and relegate the 49ers to a wildcard, everyone in the world who roots for the 49ers will be disappointed that they didn’t settle for a tie in Week 10.
And as to the idea that the locker room would have revolted if Shanahan had taken a tie, his players are smart enough to understand the reason for preserving a two-game lead in the loss column over the three teams that are chasing the 49ers the closest in the NFC. They may not have liked it at the time, but they may have greatly appreciated it six-and-a-half weeks from now.