Jimmy Garoppolo, 49ers
Nov 26, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) watches the game against the Seattle Seahawks during the fourth quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl 54: Keys for the 49ers to win it all

How can the San Francisco 49ers beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV?

This is a question many in the football world have been asking for two weeks. Tomorrow, we get to see it play out in front of more than 100 million people worldwide.

So how do the slight-underdog Niners get the job done in Miami? A few keys:

  • Pressure Patrick Mahomes

The game starts (and maybe ends) here. If the 49ers can use their ferocious front four to get Mahomes on the ground and into tough throw-aways, the Chiefs are in a ton of trouble. While Kansas City has terrific offensive tackles in Eric Fisher and Mitch Schwartz, there are some weak spots inside with center Austin Reiter and guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif. This is where DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead must win. If that pair, along with Nick Bosa and Dee Ford don’t get pressure, it’s going to be a very long night.

  • Avoid the big mistake

Every team takes penalties and drops the occasional pass. It’s critical for San Francisco not to turn the ball over, especially in either of the red areas. Giving the Chiefs points — or taking away easy ones from themselves — would be crushing in a game expected to be very close. Additionally, Mahomes doesn’t need to be given free points. He’ll score plenty of those on his own. Jimmy Garoppolo has to be smart with the football, even if it means punting the ball and flipping the field.

  • Open up rushing lanes

This seems to be thought of as no problem, but the same could be said when the Tennessee Titans faced the Chiefs two weeks ago. Kansas City didn’t stack the box at all against Derrick Henry and yet completely shut him down to 69 yards on 16 carries. San Francisco. will have a chore in moving Frank Clark, Terrell Suggs and Chris Jones off the line of scrimmage for Raheem Mostert, Matt Brieda and Tevin Coleman to find space.

  • Win a few battles on defense

Look, the 49ers have a very good defense, but they are going against one of the best offenses we’ve ever seen. The Chiefs are going to move the ball regardless of what San Francisco does from time to time. The key is getting a few third down stops, limiting a few red zone trips into three points and maybe take the ball away once or twice.

Those things happen, and the 49ers are in great shape.

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