No matter how many times Emmanuel Sanders watches Sunday's Super Bowl, the outcome will remain the same. Sanders, who spoke to the media three days removed from his team's 31-20 loss to the Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, said he has already watched the Super Bowl "five or six times" while coming to terms with his team's disappointing loss. The 49ers held a 20-10 lead with less than seven minutes remaining before allowing 21 unanswered points.
"It's like watching 'The Titanic' and you hope the ship just doesn't sink," Sanders said via NBC Sports' Matt Maiocco. "And for some reason, the ship keeps sinking over and over.
"I go back and watch it again, and you hope that all the plays that we left out there and the possible opportunities that we could've come out victorious. But we didn't and that's the reality."
Sanders' quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, also spoke to the media on Wednesday, the day the 49ers cleaned out their lockers before embarking on the offseason. Garoppolo, who was in the running to win game MVP honors after helping give the 49ers a 10-point lead, struggled down the stretch. After going 17-of-20 for 183 yards and a touchdown during the game's first three quarters, Garoppolo went just 3-of-11 for 36 yards in the fourth quarter. He also threw an interception on the 49ers' final offensive play, sealing the team's second Super Bowl loss.
"I keep telling myself, 'You've got to remember that feeling -- when all the confetti's coming down,'" Garoppolo said, via Matt Barrows of The Athletic. "Just remember that moment. You've just got to let it fuel you for this offseason."
Garoppolo, who missed most of the 2018 season with a torn ACL, helped lead the 49ers to a 13-3 regular season record and the NFC's No. 1 seed heading into the postseason. In a supporting role (he only threw 27 passes), the 49ers posted convincing wins over the Vikings and Packers to punch their ticket to Super Bowl LIV.
Garoppolo and the 49ers appeared to take control of the game in the third quarter. After tying the score before halftime, a 15-yard completion from Garoppolo to Sanders and a 14-yard completion to fullback Kyle Juszczyk helped set up Robbie Gould's 42-yard field goal. On the 49ers' next possession, following linebacker Fred Warner's interception of Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, three Garoppolo completions for 52 yards set up Raheem Mostert's one-yard touchdown run that gave the 49ers a 20-10 lead.
Despite their lead, the 49ers could not withstand the Chiefs' third comeback in as many games during the 2019 postseason. And while Garoppolo and his teammates did try to mount a game-winning drive of their own following Damien Williams' go-ahead touchdown with 2:44 left, the drive stalled at the Chiefs' 49-yard-line, as four straight incomplete passes by Garoppolo helped set up Williams' game-clinching, 38-yard touchdown run.
"Those are the moments you dream of and everything," Garopplo said of the 49ers' late comeback attempt, via NFL.com's Jeremy Bergman. "We got off, we got rolling on a right note and just couldn't finish it off. But it's been a hell of a year with these guys, everything we've been through from the very start, it's an incredible story."
While Garoppolo, who won two Super Bowls as Tom Brady's backup in New England, was not able to join Brady as a Super Bowl champion starting quarterback on Sunday, he will now set his sights on joining Brady and Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese as the only starting quarterbacks to win the Big Game a year after losing it.
"The feeling of the locker room (after Sunday's loss), it's an unreal feeling," Garoppolo said. "It's something I've never felt before, I'm sure none of these guys have felt before. The one positive you can take out of it is guys care about, guys care about each other, guys care about this organization. Lot of good came from this year. It's hard to look at it right now and see that good, but a couple days down the line maybe look back and look back on it a little bit."