The San Francisco 49ers escaped Week 2 with a victory against the Detroit Lions. Holding a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter, San Francisco let Detroit climb back into the game but was able to hold on and pull out a win. Now the Niners need to put that game behind them and focus on their Week 3 opponent, the Kansas City Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense have been the talk of the league. No one doubted Mahomes had the talent but for him to be playing this well only two weeks into the season is amazing.
He currently holds a 10-0 touchdown to interception ratio. Tyreek Hill has been displaying his lightning speed on the field in multiple ways and this offense is clicking on all cylinders. This could mean big trouble for the 49ers inconsistent defense and more importantly, shaky secondary.
Richard Sherman could be susceptible to the deep ball and second-year cornerback, Ahkello Witherspoon, has to shake off a tough game against the Lions. The return of Reuben Foster can help shore up the linebacking unit and bring some more confidence to the defense. The defensive group has to play at a near-perfect level to slow down the Chiefs’ young gunslinger who is dripping with confidence.
The Niners need to be buttoned up on defense, but if they can handle these following three things, then they could surprise Andy Reid and his Chiefs by pulling off an upset victory:
It’s A Marathon, Not A Sprint:
The Chiefs offense has scored quickly and often these past two games. Now that may be great because the offense is not afraid to go after the big play and get points on the board quickly. The flipside though, is that it can affect the defense.
49er fans saw this happen when Chip Kelly was the head coach. The offense looked dynamic and was scoring points by the bunches, but the defense was on the field too long and it affected the team overall.
This can work in the favor of the 49ers. If they can put together long drives that keep the Chiefs defense on the field for long periods of time, they can keep pace with Mahomes and the offense. Long, methodical drives can be the recipe for success for San Francisco in Kansas City.
Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better:
Sometimes the best way to beat a team is to copy them. The Chiefs have been able to score at will and the 49ers will need to keep up in order to keep the game from getting one-sided too quickly.
The Chiefs defense has given up 65 total points over both games this season. This means San Francisco needs to also take advantage of a weaker defense and put points on the board quickly and often.
Kyle Shanahan is an innovative play-caller and this is a great opportunity to use that creativity and put the offense in the best opportunities to score. Do that, and this barn burner may work in favor for the Niners.
The Ferrari Out Of The Garage:
Foster makes his return to the defense after serving a two-game suspension. He brings a skill-level to the defense that can hopefully control Mahomes and this high-flying offense. Pairing him with rookie Fred Warner can be a good duo try to contain superstar tight end Travis Kelce.
By taking away one of Kansas City’s big weapons on offense can force Mahomes to have to check down and feed into the 49ers game plan. Knowing that one threat is taken care of, the rest of the defense can focus on the multitude of other weapons including Hill, Sammy Watkins, and Kareem Hunt. Having Foster back on the defense can spell wonders for helping San Francisco limit the damage put on by the Kansas City offense.
Willie Nelson maybe couldn’t wait to get on the road again, but the 49ers may have other thoughts. Heading into Arrowhead stadium to get a win against one of the hottest teams in the league right now is a monumental task. If you’re looking for a low-scoring, dog fight of a game then this is not the game you should be watching. It will be an absolute offensive clinic and it may be hard for the 49ers to keep up the pace with the Chiefs.
Mahomes looks to be living up to the tenth overall selection and his sensational play will continue in his first home game of 2018. As great as it would be to see the 49ers leave Kansas City with a victory, the firepower of the Chiefs offense may be too much for the 49ers hold off. They will keep pace through the first three quarters of the game, but the fourth quarter is where the Chiefs will distance themselves and secure their third win in a row.
Game Facts to Keep in Mind
- Currently, Matt Breida is leading the league in rushing with 184 yards. The last 49ers player to finish the year as the leading rusher in the NFL was Joe Perry. Perry finished as the top rusher in the league in 1953 and then again in 1954.
- In one game against the Chiefs, Richard Sherman allowed only five catches for 50 yards to Kansas City receivers.
- Kyle Shanahan has only faced Andy Reid as an offensive coordinator. His record against Reid is currently 3-5.