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“It’s not all about talent. It’s about dependability, consistency and being able to improve. If you work hard and you’re coachable, and you understand what you need to do, you can improve.” – Bill Belichick.
Bill Belichick may not have coached the Kansas City Chiefs at any point in his life, but the man he defeated in Super Bowl XXXIX currently does, and is on the verge of doing something we haven’t seen since. Head coach Andy Reid, along with quarterback Patrick Mahomes, has the Kansas City Chiefs back in the Super Bowl for the fourth time in five years. Across from them, a familiar foe, the very team that started their quest for this potential dynasty: the San Francisco 49ers.
After an 11-6 season, their worst since Patrick Mahomes took over as starting quarterback, Kansas City made the playoffs as the third seed. For the first time since that quarterback change in 2018, their road to the Super Bowl was going to have to be won on the road.
They handedly defeated the explosive Miami Dolphins, 26-7 in the Wild Card round, setting up a date with destiny against the Buffalo Bills. In a back-and-forth game in Buffalo, Kansas City rallied in the fourth quarter to set up a meeting with the Baltimore Ravens. Baltimore, not looking like the team many had come to expect, put up a bit of a fight before succumbing to the eventual AFC Champions.
So here we are: another year, another chance to get a ring for the Kansas City Chiefs.
Keys To The Game
Offense: Play Smart
Joe Burrow ,Lamar Jackson, Kirk Cousins, Carson Wentz and P.J. Walker: all of these quarterbacks have beaten the San Francisco 49ers this season. While not all of these quarterbacks were built the same, they limited turnovers and knew when to play game manager. With the exceptions of Jackson and Burrow, they knew that once they had the lead, to keep the ball out of Brock Purdy’s hands.
With the right time management and decision making, Kansas City should be able to pull off a win against San Francisco. However, should they find themselves in a hole or unable to fully chew time off of the clock, things could get tricky. Just ask the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions.
Defense: Pressure Brock Purdy
Brock Purdy is a dangerous quarterback, as he finished in the top five in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns this season. Despite this, the teams that have beaten the 49ers this year have done so, due in large part to the pressure their defensive lines put on the former “Mr. Irrelevant.”
According to Pro Football Focus, Cleveland (48%), Cincinnati (46%) and Baltimore (42%) were all able to get pressure on Purdy on nearly 50% of his drop backs.
Then there’s teams like Minnesota, who were able to muster up 36 percent, but were able to force two turnovers. Good things happen when you apply pressure to Purdy, whether it’s up front (preferable) or with his targets. He is still young, he’ll make mistakes, but if you can force him to make them more often, you’re sitting prettier than the blonde pop star sitting in the press box.
George Karlaftis, Defensive End
We all know the power of defensive tackle Chris Jones, by now…but what about Karlaftis? The former first-round pick hasn’t quite been the game changer that many thought he could be at the NFL level. Yet he’s been a force this postseason with his 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1.5 stuffs and a fumble recovery.
While there have been better sack numbers across the league, he still managed 10.5 during the regular season. Add to it 35 pressures (13th in the NFL) and 18 quarterback hurries (3rd in the NFL). He’s going to be relied on to make Purdy uncomfortable. If he can help do that, then the road may be a little easier.
Realistically the Kansas City Chiefs should be Fearless and allow their fans to Speak Now. Kansas City will be in Red and look to have a similar success to the 1989 San Francisco 49ers (also wore red). Their Reputation may not be on the line for their fans or any Lover, but this team could go down in their Folklore as the most impressive despite their overall record Evermore.
If they can put together one more string of good play before the clock strikes Midnights, they may be Super Bowl Champions once again and send San Francisco to The Tortured Poets Department. And yes…we really just did that.