Super Bowl LIV Preview

Bo Zanardi, Staff Writer

Miami, FL — The Super Bowl matchup is set, the San Francisco 49ers will take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Miami on Feb. 2, 2020.

Nick Bosa, and the best defense in the NFL, will take on Patrick Mahomes, who plays alongside  one of the most dangerous offenses in the league.

The 49ers are coming off a convincing 37-20 NFC championship win against the Green Bay Packers. The 49ers defense held Aaron Jones, one of the premiere running backs in the NFL, to just 56 yards rushing, and forced two interceptions out of Aaron Rodgers, the Packers star quarterback.

While holding up strong on defense, the 49ers dominated with the run game on offense as running back Raheem Mostert exploded for 220 yards, the second most in postseason history, and four touchdowns.

San Francisco’s quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo only threw eight passes and completed just six. The 49ers join Don Shula’s 1971 and 1973 Dolphins as the only teams to finish a playoff game with less than 10 pass attempts in the Super Bowl era, according to NFL.com.

Despite the underwhelming stat line from Garoppolo, he has proven to be a key piece of the 49ers success this season. San Francisco’s coach Kyle Shanahan commented in a postgame interview after the NFC championship on how the offense has been able to play throughout the season because of their defense’s success.

Our defense has had a historically good year, so I think we’ve been able to win the game a lot of different ways on offense, but when the defense the way it’s played with us or the way it’s played most of this year, we didn’t have to go out and air it out a ton going into games like that,” Shanahan said. 

On the other side, the Kansas City Chiefs ended the Tennessee Titans underdog run, as they were able to hold the explosive Derrick Henry to just 69 yards rushing, and proved their run defense is one of the stronger units in the league.

The team’s starting safety Tyrann Mathieu, who joined the Chiefs in free agency this year, has had an impressive season, and 49ers tight end George Kittle thinks Mathieu will be the difference for the Chiefs.

When you have a guy like that that makes those plays and a guy like that that sparks the defense every single time they’re on the field, he’s definitely their key player,” Kittle said in a postgame interview after the AFC championship.

The chiefs won 35-24, as Mahomes threw for 6 yards shy of 300, with 3 passing touchdowns and a rushing touchdown. Mahomes continues to dominate the league as he rolls through the Titans defense, he comes upon the 6th best passing defense, the best defense overall in yards per game.

The 49ers defensive coordinator, Robert Saleh, spoke very highly of the Chiefs offensive group in an interview last Thursday.

“They’re the fastest team by far. To try to compare it to another team would not do them justice, to be honest with you. But, anytime you have speed like that it naturally will stress the defense,” Saleh said in an interview with the press Jan. 23.

This should be a great contest between an explosive offense, and a shutdown defense. One of the best quarterbacks this year, Patrick Mahomes will take on the likely defensive rookie of the year pass rusher, Nick Bosa. Currently the Chiefs are favored to win, but not by much. Time to see if these young studs on either side of the ball can perform on the biggest stage.