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All of the same tropes will work their way to the forefront with two weeks of coverage before Super Bowl LIV.
“The irresistible force meets the immovable object” will definitely be a favorite because it’ll apply to matchups when the San Francisco offense meets the Kansas City defense and vice versa.
The 49ers’ ground game chewed up and spit out its two playoff opponents so far with 471 rushing yards. On Sunday, Raheem Mostert became the only player in league history with 200 or more rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in a playoff contest, according to NFL Research.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has attempted only 27 passes through two postseason contests, including a measly eight during Sunday’s 37-20 victory over the Packers.
However, the Chiefs were ready for the league’s leading rusher and held Henry to 69 rushing yards after he destroyed both the Patriots and Ravens.
The 49ers present a different type of running scheme. Tennessee has a physical, downhill attack, whereas San Francisco uses a multifaceted approach built off its zone-stretch base.
Will the 49ers’ rushing attack continue to roll through the Chiefs as it did against previous opponents?
Ty Dunne: B
Frank Clark will have something to say, surely, and maybe he’s shouting into a mic again on the field after a win. This KC defense is here for a reason, but Shanahan and this 49ers’ ground game is a machine. It was kind of sad to see the Packers absolutely knowing the 49ers were going to runagain and again and againand unable to do a damn thing about it.
Mike Freeman: A+
The Chiefs just slowed Henry. And while that’s impressive, this 49ers offensive line is the most physical in football. It will maul the Chiefs defense.
Mike Tanier: B
The 49ers are going to chunk out yardage against the Chiefs. But they will also almost certainly need Garoppolo to attempt more than eight passes. Like the Titans and Henry, they will need to tilt the game in their direction to run the ball like they want. And that means more than just taking the lead because if the last two weeks have taught us anything, it’s that no lead is safe against the Chiefs.
Brent Sobleski: B+
Too many slobbered over Henry and what the Titans were doing without realizing the 49ers were doing it better, albeit in a different manner. San Francisco doesn’t need a workhorse back because the scheme is so well devised. It can rely on its zone-stretch base or switch to man principles. And the Niners keep doing these things without missing a beat whenever someone like center Weston Richburg or running back Tevin Coleman is injured.
Brad Gagnon: C+
Kansas City’s run defense was a big problem earlier this year, but that unit has been great since November. If you can shut down Henry, you can probably shut down the 49ers on the ground, as well.
Gary Davenport: C+
Mostert was incredible against the Packers, and I fully expect the 49ers to be able to have some success on the ground against the Chiefs. But if Coleman can’t go, it’s going to put immense pressure on Mostert to keep the Niners out of 3rd-and-long and Mahomes on the sideline. Of all the games within the game in Super Bowl LIV, this may be the most important.
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