The Revealing Stat That Shows How the 49ers Can Makes More Comeback History in Super Bowl vs. Chiefs

Only two teams in the Super Bowl era have rallied from seven points down to win three postseason games, something the 49ers could do Sunday.

The San Francisco 49ers have a chance to make NFL history when they face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas on Sunday.

But it’s not the type of milestone they are setting out to achieve.

The 49ers have overcome deficits of seven and 17 points in their two playoff wins to reach the Super Bowl. They trailed the Green Bay Packers by seven points in their Divisional Round win, and they fell behind by 17 against the Detroit Lions in the NFC Championship Game.

49ers Can Make Comeback History in Super Bowl

San Francisco quarterback Brock Purdy offered some insight into the team’s mentality when falling behind.

“Down 17 at the half, our whole team was just, ‘Gotta find a way,'” Purdy told the NFL Network after the game. “You know, our season’s on the line. Obviously, the first half performance was tough, and so we were like, ‘You know what, backs against the wall, let’s just go. Let’s try to get some momentum rolling, get some points up on the board.’ So we were able to find a way.”

San Francisco already is one of just 19 teams to post two comebacks of at least seven points in the same postseason.

But if the 49ers fall behind Kansas City by a similar margin and rally to hoist the Lombardi Trophy, they will become just the third team in the Super Bowl era to win three postseason games in which they trailed by at least seven points.

The first team to do it was the 2009 Saints. Like San Francisco, New Orleans was the No. 1 seed that season.

But unlike the 49ers, the Saints never trailed by seven or more in the second half of any of their three comeback wins.

In the Divisional Round game, the Saints fell behind 7-0 after Arizona Cardinals running back Tim Hightower had a 70-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage. New Orleans countered with 21 unanswered points – all in the first quarter – on the way to a 45-14 romp.

In the NFC Championship Game, the Saints went down by seven twice in the first half but rallied to tie the game 14-14 by halftime. And they never trailed in the second half, eventually winning 31-28 in overtime on Garrett Hartley’s 40-yard field goal in what was the final postseason game of Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre’s career.

In Super Bowl XLIV, New Orleans trailed the Indianapolis Colts by four at halftime. But spurred by head coach Sean Payton’s decision to open the second half with an onside kick, the Saints outscored the Colts, 25-7, in the second half to win the franchise’s first title.

It would be another 10 years before another team would match New Orleans’ feat, and it brings a full-circle moment to the discussion. The Chiefs rallied from at least seven points down in all three of their postseason games, including Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers.

And Kansas City did it with a much higher degree of difficulty, falling behind 24-0 against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round game and going down 17-7 against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game.

In both instances, however, the Chiefs had reclaimed the lead by halftime.

That was not the case in the Super Bowl against San Francisco, as the 49ers held a 10-point lead with under seven minutes to play before Kansas City reeled off 21 unanswered points to win, 31-20.

It’s been a different story in 2023 for the Chiefs, who have trailed by just 22 minutes and 20 seconds of a possible 180 minutes in three playoff games, coming from behind three times in the Divisional Round win against the Buffalo Bills.

This year in the regular season, no team jumped out to early leads faster than the 49ers, who scored first in an NFL-best 13 games. San Francisco was 10-3 in those games, tying the Dallas Cowboys (10-0) and Detroit Lions (10-1) for the most wins when scoring first.

The Chiefs scored first in nine games in the regular season, going 8-1.

There has been only one Super Bowl out of 57 in which neither team led by at least seven points – Super Bowl XLII when the New York Giants beat the previously unbeaten New England Patriots, 17-14.

Teams that fall behind by at least seven points in a Super Bowl are 19-52.

Teams that fall behind by 10 points or more are 6-49.

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The 49ers’ ability to get out to early leads this season is something that could serve them well Sunday against the Chiefs. But the ability to rally from second-half deficits in the postseason also could work in their favor and also help them make history.

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