San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Super Sunday is here! Both the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs are ready for the big highlight of the NFL season. In Super Bowl LIV one player towers above all others – but is that enough against the supposedly better team? SPOX makes the head-to-head comparison.

The Super Bowl will be live on DAZN on the night of February 2nd – 3rd – with Markus Kuhn and Sebastian Vollmer in the German live commentary, alternatively also in the original US commentary.

Quarterbacks

  • Jimmy Garoppolo (Niners) vs. Patrick Mahomes (Chiefs)

What else can be said about Garoppolo and Mahomes that has not already been discussed in the past two weeks? We know that Garoppolo has not been challenged in the playoffs and that the Niners offense against Minnesota and then Green Bay was mainly dominated by the run game. Mahomes, on the other hand, had to fire from all the pipes to keep his team in the race against the Texans.

If it is only according to the form shown, then Mahomes is of course worlds ahead of all others these days. But the truth is also that Garoppolo didn’t have to show much. Nobody really knows how good “Jimmy GQ” is, what level he is currently able to show. That in turn could be an advantage for the 49ers, because that makes him and his offense unpredictable.

However, Mahomes is also unpredictable – per se! What he does always seems to be a little bit of freestyle. Head coach Andy Reid simply grants him this freedom.

category Garoppolo Liga-Rang Mahomes Liga-Rang
Yards per Attempt 8,4 1 8,3 4
Completion Percentage (percent) 69,1 4 65,9 10
Interception Rate 2,77 24 0,77 1
Dropback EPA/Play 0,21 4 0,3 1
Dropback Success Rate 0,5 4 0,51 2
Explosive Pass Rate (Prozent) 12 1 10 6
Adjusted Net Yards per Attempt 7,22 10 8,38 2

All information about DVOA and analytics in football can be found here!

If you look at certain tendencies, it quickly becomes clear that both played similar seasons, although Mahomes was ultimately more efficient and, above all, made significantly fewer mistakes. He threw 5 interceptions throughout the season – not a single one in the playoffs. And Garoppolo? He made a total of 14.

However, this was not due to too great a willingness to take risks, because on average Garoppolo threw the ball almost two air yards shorter than Mahomes, although the latter had also relied on shorter passes in the playoffs to give his playmakers most of the space gained after the catch left.

In any case, the bottom line is that Mahomes is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and has proven this over and over again in recent weeks.

Advantage: Chiefs.

Running Backs 49ers vs. Linebacker Chiefs

  • Raheem Mostert, Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman und Kyle Juszczyk vs. Anthony Hitchens, Damien Wilson, Reggie Ragland

The Chiefs’ run game could not be stopped in the first two playoff games, the Vikings and Packers were literally overrun. The special thing about it: There is not one top rusher in the backfield, responsibility and workload are distributed over several shoulders. Against the Vikings, Tevin Coleman ran for 105 yards and 2 touchdowns, against the Packers Raheem Mostert was in top form with 220 yards (4 TD) after Coleman injured his shoulder early.

In general, with the 49ers everything goes through the scheme. The specialty are outside zone runs, on which everything is built – also play action. The run game is always well supported by the offensive line, the tight ends and often the wide receivers. Everyone helps to achieve success. This has the advantage that, on the one hand, you can change in the backfield, but on the other hand, opposing defenders hardly have any access.

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For the Chiefs, Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson usually start in the standard sub-package. In addition, a safety against the run usually helps – tyrant Mathieu or Dan Sorensen. That in turn will be necessary against the Niners and their multi-headed rushing monster. Too much focus on the run, however, always harbors the risk of play action and also short passes, for example to Coleman, who is a very good receiver from the backfield. How much he will be able to play after the shoulder injury remains to be seen. But he should be fit to play.

Advantage: 49ers.

Running Backs Chiefs vs. Linebacker 49ers

  • Damien Williams, LeSean McCoy und Anthony Sherman vs. Kwon Alexander, Fred Warner, Dre Greenlaw

On paper, the Chiefs running game should be seen more as a supplement to the overpowering passing game. It is no coincidence that Mahomes himself was the best rusher of his team against Houston and Tennessee, which was due to his scramble qualities and rather not to the design.

Still, Williams and McCoy shouldn’t be underestimated. Both are able to take advantage of the gaps if they get the ball. However, both are far more dangerous as receivers from the backfield, which like to appear at screens and drop-offs – or with the dreaded wheel routes.

However, the linebackers of the 49ers are basically good on foot and also useful in coverage. Since they operate behind a formidable defensive line, they can usually concentrate on any coverage assignments and rarely need to flash. These freedoms then also help against the run.

Advantage: 49ers.

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