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Four Things to Watch for During Super Bowl LIV

Chiefs’ Tacklers

Every Packers fan ought to be looking at how the Chiefs will attempt to blunt the ferocious 49er ground attack. As for personnel, they have Pro-Bowler Frank Clark (#55) at defensive End. Clark at 6’3” and 260 pounds, was a second-round pick by the Chiefs in 2015. They also have Pro-Bowler Chris Jones (#95) at defensive tackle. Jones, 6’5” and 310 pounds, was the Chiefs’ Round 2 pick in 2016, and he also was named second team All-Pro in 2018.

The Chiefs’ starting linebackers are six-year man Anthony Hitchens and five-year man Damien Wilson. Hitchens was originally a Round 4 pick of the Cowboys in 2014; coincidentally, Wilson was a Round 4 pick by the Cowboys in 2015. Hitchens has been with the Chiefs for two years, and Wilson for one year.

The Chiefs’ right cornerback is Bashaud Breeland, who played for the Packers for about half of the 2018 season.

Another name of note is Chiefs’ strong safety Tyrann Mathieu. The Round 3 draft choice by the Cards in 2013 joined the Chiefs in 2019. He was a first team All-Pro in 2015 and a second-team All-Pro in 2019. His current contract is $42 million over three years.

The Chiefs’ leading tacklers during the regular season were: Hitchens (88), Wilson (81), Mathieu (75) and cornerback Charvarius Ward (74).

Battle of the Tight Ends

The Chiefs feature Travis Kelce a five-time Pro Bowler (2015-19), a two-time first team All-Pro (2016, 2018) and a two-time second team All-Pro (2017, 2019). Kelse, playing in all 16 regular-season games, had 97 catches for 1,229 yards and five TDs.

The 49ers will counter with George Kittle, a Pro-Bowler in 2018 and 2019, a first-team All-Pro this past year, and a second-team All-Pro in 2018. Pro Football Focus recently selected him as its Player of the Year. In 14 games in 2019, Kittle had 85 catches for 1,053 yards and five TDs.

Jan 25, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; A detail shot of Super Bowl LIV football that is seen during the Grand Opening of the NFL s Super Bowl Experience at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Speed Demons

The player considered by many to be the NFL’s fastest is Chiefs’ receiver Tyreek Hill. At a Pro Day event in early 2016, he recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.29 seconds.

Both Hill and 49ers running back Raheem Mostert were college track stars, with Hill playing first for Oklahoma State and later for West Alabama, and Mostert running for Purdue. Mostert was rated by nfl.com as the fastest college football player in the NCAA in his final college year. Hill, however, while running for Oklahoma State, posted the faster collegiate 100-meter time (9.98 seconds). Mostert is listed as 5’10” and 205 pounds, whereas Hill is 5’10” and 185 pounds.

On the year, Hill caught 58 passes for 850 yards and 7 TDs. He also rushed eight times for 23 yards. Though he has returned 99 punts for an average of 14.1 yards and 5 TDs in his four-year pro career, he only had one such return in 2019.

A third lightning fast guy who will be on the field for the Chiefs is Mecole Hardman. The rookie return specialist (and sometimes wide receiver) returned 27 kickoffs for 704 yards in 2019 (26.1 average), including a 104-yard touchdown return. Hardman, at 5’10” and 187 pounds, played three years for Georgia before becoming the Chiefs’ second-round draft pick. His all-purpose yardage totaled 1,426.

Contrasting Quarterbacks

Patrick Mahomes, a first-team All-Pro quarterback in his second year in 2018, slipped only a bit in his third season. Though he missed two games due to injury, he still finished with 319 completions in 484 throws for 4,031 yards, 26 TDs and 5 interceptions. He ran more sparingly than in his previous year, but still averaged 5.5 yards on his 43 carries.

Mahomes established many school records, and received several national awards when he played for Texas Tech from 2014 through 2016. He also is tied for the NCAA single-game yards passing yardage record of 734, done against Oklahoma in 2016. Mahomes, at the tender age of 24, is an acknowledged NFL superstar.

The 49ers quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo, has been in the NFL years longer than has Mahomes, though his game experience is considerably less. Selected by the Patriots in the second round of the 2014 draft, Garoppolo was Tom Brady’s understudy for his first four years as a pro.

Like Mahomes, he received several collegiate awards, the difference being he played for Eastern Illinois in the Ohio Valley Conference – a lower-level Division 1 school.

Mahomes, in just three years, has already passed for 9,412 yards and 76 touchdowns. Jimmy G, in six years in the league, has passed for 6,946 yards and 44 touchdowns. Prior to 2019, Garoppolo had only started ten games in the NFL.

While Mahomes can take over a game, and often passes for prodigious yardage, Garoppolo has played second-fiddle at San Francisco to his team’s rushers and run-oriented attack.

It’s the run attack versus the pass attack on Sunday!

Rob Born

Smart drafters don’t select the best available players, they fill a team’s positions of greatest need.



  1. Howard February 1, 2020

    Don’t discount the impact another former Packer may have on the 49ers run game. The chiefs picked up Mike Pennel before game 8. The Packers worked out Pennel just prior to the Chiefs signing Pennel. The Packers could have signed Pennel to a cap friendly contract. Pennel would have been a good addition by the Packers to help their run defense. Pennel is just a one or two down defensive tackle or nose, against run heavy offensive formations and downs.
    In limited snaps with the Chiefs Pennel had 24 tackles in the regular season (8 games) and another 6 in the two post season games. Plus Pennel plugged the middle and helped keep blockers off the Chiefs ILBs.

  2. PF4L February 1, 2020

    I think people underestimate how close the Packers are to these two teams. The only difference i see is these teams don’t over spend on has been football players. that, and they draft well.
    But otherwise, the Packers are right there.

    1. Ferris February 1, 2020

      A real #2 WR, a real #1TE a real #2 corner. Done…and a DC that game plans for a team that runs 50 times.

      1. Skinny February 2, 2020

        We had a number 2 corner, Bash Breeland and the Pack let him walk, lol. You cant make this shit up. Pack could have easily picked up Pennel or Emmanuel Sanders too. Nope, screw that we are rolling with Montravious Adams and MVS.

    2. Mike Ditka's Dog February 1, 2020


  3. Mitch Anthony February 1, 2020

    In 14 regular season games George Kittle got about one eighth of his production against the Packers in their regular season meeting. But otherwise…

    1. MJ February 2, 2020

      I clearly recall the old TotalPackers owners saying something like “it’s the career day”, meaning that our opponents had the chance to establish new personal records. Back then it was Dom Caper’s defense. Nowadays…

  4. Mitch Anthony February 2, 2020

    Well congratulations to the Chiefs. I was pulling for the Chiefs mainly because I wanted to see Andy Reid get this one. Good for him.

    All in all it was good game, stayed close for a while, back and forth and the Chiefs coming from behind was cool. Decent play by both Pennel and Breeland for the Chiefs. Hey, where was their talent evaluated before? I don’t have a lot of strong feelings for/against players on either team save for one, Richard Sherman. I don’t care for him. Yeah, I guess it just goes back to my piss on Seattle attitude and he was there back then.

    Things I seen on the web after the game. The first was a photo of Bob Dole enjoying the game with some Chiefs gear wrapped around his neck. Put political allegiance aside, this was cool. Good for you good man. At 96 years old, a combat wounded WW2 vet got to enjoy seeing his team win, 50 years after he witnessed their other appearance.

    The second was some TMZ BS about JayZ and Beyonce not caring to un-ass from their seat for the National Anthem. Well, I see someone is still trying to monetize on his wokeness by making a display. I thought Mr Z was working hand and glove with Roger Goodell to salve us through these issues. Now I completely support his right and his choice to make such a display because he is on his personal time but I still think he’s a prick.

    Commercials which were good. Cool Ranch Doritos with Sam Elliott and his mustache was one but the horse stole it at the end. Bill Murray reprising Groundhog Day was pretty good too. Might have been a couple others that brought a laugh.

  5. MJ February 3, 2020

    Really enjoyed the game. SF had a more complete team, but were ultimately undone by a vintage-Rodgers performance by Mahomes. His struggle rallied KC back into the game, right after their defense had collapsed and was unable to stop the 49ers running game.

    The first KC interception was courtesy of the Packers: it was Mike Pennel who delivered the hit on Garoppolo as he threw, with Bashaud Breeland making the pick.

    As soon as Mahomes cashes in at FA rates, things will get less comfortable for KC; they will be another team fully committed to the win-now mentality in 2020-2021 (i.e., making moves that may be currently helpful but salary-cap detrimental some years down the line).

    1. PF4L February 3, 2020

      Mahomie won’t sniff free agency for a long time. But….he will be sniffing 40 million a year…soon. 5 years…200 million, or damn close to it imo.

  6. Zwoeger February 3, 2020

    I just watched the game and I’m not disapointed gamewise and outcome. Mahomes has to work on his throws , lots of wobling balls. Wondering though how he made all this big plays through te season .

    1. PF4L February 3, 2020

      He didn’t have to play the 49ers every week.

      1. PF4L February 3, 2020

        At first i didn’t really like him, he reminded me of Cam Newton for some reason. But this dude has game, and he’s as cool as the other side of the pillow.
        Not sure how you win SB MVP with 2 picks, and 2 fumbles and a 78 passer rating, but ok.

  7. Howard February 3, 2020

    Rob had it correct when he said “It’s the run attack versus the pass attack on Sunday!”
    Mahomes and the Chiefs did a fine job passing their way to a comeback victory.
    I don’t want to take anything away from the Chiefs defense, but I believe Shanahan forgot what got them to the Super Bowl after their last TD. Run the Ball! Pass off the Run action!
    To me after the last 49er TD Shanahan started going away from the run. One of the reasons was the Chiefs defense started stacking the line with 8 or 9 defenders. The 49ers were still running the ball just fine, and I think they could have still ran for first downs against a stacked box. However, Shanahan or maybe Garoppolo(?) started calling/checking to more and more passes. Those passes worked fine when the 49ers had their line use outside zone run action. This allowed the 49ers to move the pocket/Garoppolo, and forced the Chiefs defenders to move off the spot. It was harder to zero in on Garoppolo. As the game went later into the 4th quarter the 49ers all but abandoned the outside zone run action on pass plays, even when they had the lead. In fact the 49ers, for the most part, just dropped back allowing the Chiefs to blitz and defend a stationary QB, with usually 3 receivers in routes. Garoppolo Does not react well to pressure in a stationary pocket. It also allowed the Chiefs D-linemen to get in passing lanes and defend passes at the line.
    I think it was a mistake for Shanahan to not run more in the last 11 minutes of the game, and if they were set on passing at least pass using more of the outside zone run action to move Garoppolo’s launch point. There were a few reasons Shanahan relied on the run game in the playoffs and before. Shanahan appeared to forget about those reasons in the last 11 minutes.