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Super Bowl LVIII: 49ers’ 5 Keys to Victory Against the Chiefs

Feb 10, 2024 at 7:00 AM--

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Super Bowl LVIII is officially here, with the designated road-team San Francisco 49ers set to take on the designated home-team Kansas City Chiefs. Head coach Kyle Shanahan eyes his first Lombardi Trophy, which may be the best opportunity to get it done. To secure victory, the 49ers must adhere to these "Keys to Victory."

Stop The Run

The 49ers' run defense ranks second to last in the playoffs, conceding an average of 159 yards per game. The Chiefs, fifth in rushing yards, are averaging 127.3 per game. Isiah Pacheco rushed for 254 yards, averaging four yards per carry and three touchdowns.

The Chiefs will look to get Clyde Edwards-Helaire involved, who rushed for 75 yards, averaging 5.3 yards per carry. Another running back the Chiefs may add to their roster is Jerick McKinnon, whose practice window was opened and could return from the injured reserve list.

The 49ers defense must contain the edges and not allow the running backs to get outside. The Chiefs will try to run up the middle and take advantage of the 49ers' weak run defense. The 49ers must stop the run and limit the explosive plays on the ground, forcing Patrick Mahomes to be one-dimensional.

Double Kelce

Travis Kelce has been monstrous in the playoffs, catching 23 receptions on 27 targets for 262 yards and three touchdowns, making the tight end Mahomes' number-one target. The 49ers defense must find a way to use their best option on Kelce and bracket him to limit any yards after the catch.

Don't be surprised if this assignment goes to safety Tashuan Gipson or linebacker Dre Greenlaw. The 49ers must find a way to limit Kelce and force Mahomes to throw the ball to his second option, rookie wide receiver Rashee Rice, or any other playmaker on the Chiefs.

Keep Mahomes in the Pocket

The 49ers' defense will face its most formidable challenge of the season in facing Mahomes. The Chiefs average 235.7 yards per game. On average, the 49ers pass defense is allowing 227 yards per game in the playoffs. Keeping Mahomes in the pocket is critical because it forces him to make the correct read and be accurate.

If the 49ers defense can generate pressure up the middle and the edge rushers can contain, the defense will be able to get their hands on Mahomes. It can be a long day for the defense if it doesn't and allows Mahomes to get outside the pocket and extend the play.

Expect the 49ers to show and play zone, but mix in man coverage if they must dial up the pressure. Mahomes is a bit shifty in the pocket, so the 49ers defense must wrap and tackle once they get their hands on him.

Run the Ball

It doesn't matter how the 49ers run the ball, but Kyle Shanahan should take advantage of the Chiefs' weak zone run defense. The team ranks 31st in the NFL against the outside zone. The 49ers are one of the NFL's best outside zone run offenses. San Francisco should utilize Christian McCaffrey and Elijah Mitchell in the outside zone and mix a little power run scheme up the middle with Jordan Mason.

Running the ball effectively only makes the 49ers' offense, led by quarterback Brock Purdy, more efficient and dangerous. Purdy will want to take advantage of his playmakers downfield and can do so if the 49ers establish the run and stick with it. On Opening Night, All-Pro tight end said that his game plan would be, "Give it to Kittle, a lot!"

Take what the Defense Allows

Purdy gets the opportunity to play in his first Super Bowl in only his second season with the team. One of the quarterback's greatest strengths is beating the blitz and not forcing throws. Purdy has forced a few throws in the playoffs, and some of his throws have led to mistakes and slow starts.

Purdy must return to doing what he does best and taking what the defense gives him. Super Bowls can be won with dink and dunk throws. If Purdy can get into his rhythm early, expect the 49ers to generate long, sustainable drives.

There will come a time when Purdy has to make a play, and he needs to decipher when that time comes. Until then, don't force throws; use the Chiefs' weakness on defense against them, and take exactly what they are allowing. First downs are first downs. It doesn't matter if first downs come in explosive or methodical plays. Since Purdy has been the best "game manager" in football all season, expect him to make the right play.

In conclusion, Faithful, our team made it to the Super Bowl and has the opportunity to be one of the greatest 49ers teams assembled. This will be a game for the ages, and if the 49ers want to win, they must stick to the "Keys To Victory."
  • Written by:
    Wayne Breezie is a 49ers content creator. He had his first guest appearance on Ronbosports in 2012. He began writing for a Facebook group called the League of the 49ers. Next, he began writing for Nothing But Niners in 2017. In 2018, Wayne Breezie made his debut on YouTube’s Nothing But Niners show. In 2019, he started his podcast called Nitty Gritty Niners. After putting the pen down for several years, Breezie saw an opportunity to write for His first published article was in January of 2022 with 49ersCap, and he currently writes and produces weekly podcasts.
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