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The last time 49ers’ head coach Kyle Shanahan made a trip to the Superbowl, he was an offensive coordinator and the result was horrendous in the end.
Shanahan will have full control of the roster this time and he will have to call the game of his life versus the Kansas City Chiefs. Overall play calling and clock management will be even more key in this game because all signs point to a frantic finish.
Keys To The Game:
The 49ers should resume their rushing onslaught until the Chiefs prove they have any power to stop it. Kansas City has not allowed either of their two playoff opponents to go over a hundred yards on the ground and smashing the ball down their throats could have them running back to the drawing board.
San Francisco should try to hit some deep plays early and stretch out the Chiefs’ defense. With Kansas City keying in on the run game so much, the 49ers should try to catch them sleeping and launch a few.
San Francisco does a great job of bunching up it’s receivers in plays after the ball is snapped. You will often see two or three of Garappolo’s targets in the same exact area for a spell, then they disperse to different parts of the field. This is where they are as vulnerable as they are effective.
They need to disperse that crowd a bit earlier and not let the Chiefs be able to jump routes and force drops. The 49ers can not under any circumstance get caught in third and long. There have been numerous times this season where they have to force the football down field and it led to disaster.
Defensively, it will be nearly impossible to match the Chiefs’ speed so maybe a little muscle might be in order. The 49ers can’t let the Kansas City receivers get a a free release from the line of scrimmage.
It’s imperative to keep the targets in front of them because any time they can get behind a defense it’s almost a guaranteed scoring drive.
The 49ers have to take away every form of the Chiefs’ running game. Whether it be the running backs, wide receivers on reverses, or Mahomes on the scramble, San Fransisco needs to shut those plays down.
The Mahomes scrambling especially has to be thwarted. The 49ers do a great job of sending blitzes from every position and they should keep switching where they come from to frustrate the MVP quarterback. They usually can create pressure with a four man rush but it wouldn’t hurt to send another guy or two, especially from the edge.
Rookie Nick Bosa has been a disruptive force for the 49ers since the first day he showed up in the bay area. His ability to create pressure usually draws extra attention in his direction and frees up some other defenders.
If he can do that or even better yet get to Mahomes a few times, then the 49ers will get a big boost in their bid for the Lombardi trophy.