Undrafted kicker Chase McLaughlin set himself up to be the hero on Monday.
Instead, he walked away from the NFL’s game of the year with heartbreak.
McLaughlin hits first 3 kicks in high-pressure game
The rookie out of Illinois got off to a good start, hitting a 43-yard field goal to give the 49ers a lead on the game’s opening drive. He made good on his second chance with a clutch 39-yard kick in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 21-21.
And when the 49ers needed a hero send the game into overtime, he delivered with a perfect 47-yard boot with a single second remaining in regulation to tie the game at 24-24
In a game with a multitude of big moments, McLaughlin delivered one of the biggest and appeared to be setting himself up for regular work in the NFL. There are plenty of teams in the league that would savor the chance to sign a kicker with the nerve to hit a high-pressure kick from that distance.
Overtime was a different story.
Pressure mounts in extra session
After Dre Greenlaw’s red-zone interception of Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson set the 49ers up near midfield, San Francisco’s offense put McLaughlin in position to be the hero again.
With 3:10 remaining in overtime, McLaughlin set up from the same distance facing the same end zone as his kick to end regulation. This time, a kick would win the game.
This time, he missed. Badly.
Kick lands in end zone tunnel
With a good snap and a good hold, McLaughlin punched the ball low and to the left with a kick that never had a chance of finding the uprights.
Instead, it landed in the tunnel to the left of the end zone.
Wilson and the Seahawks eventually took advantage of their final chance as Seattle kicker Jason Myers converted where McLaughlin couldn’t, hitting a 42-yard field goal to secure a 27-24 victory.
Meanwhile McLaughlin’s chance to live in 49ers lore landed off target in the Levi’s Stadium end zone tunnel.
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