The Chiefs and 49ers clash in Super Bowl LIV or as Matthew McConaughey calls it SB L-I-V-I-N. The best quarterback on the planet goes up against the handsomest quarterback on the planet (and he’s not bad at football either) in a game that looks like it will be close and high scoring if you follow DraftKings Sportsbooks’ odds.
The 54 point total and the 1.5 point spread likely means both quarterbacks will need to play well to give their team a shot to win. More rides on Patrick Mahomes’ arm than Jimmy Garoppolo’s based on their offensive game plans to date, but Garoppolo won’t be able to throw the ball eight times like he did in the NFC Championship.
Below, we’ll take you through some of the matchup statistics relevant to the two Super Bowl quarterbacks:
Defensive line — Total sacks and Adjusted Sack Rate ranking:
Chiefs: 45 sacks, ASR rank 10th
49ers: 48 sacks, ASR rank 2nd
Offensive line — Total sacks allowed and Adjusted Sack Rate ranking:
Chiefs: 25 sacks, ASR rank 4th
49ers: 36 sacks, ASR rank 15
Each team’s offensive and defensive line has played above average this season, with the 49ers defensive line being their strength and the Chiefs offensive line theirs. The battle in the trenches should be good and fairly even. Whoever ends up winning that battle, very likely will come out victorious, but there is no clear advantage.
Quarterback Stats Allowed Season/Last 6 games
On the season (18 games), the 49ers pass defense ranks 10th in DraftKings points allowed to quarterbacks while the Chiefs rank 16th. Kansas City has also seen 79 more pass attempts against them, but have given up very similar touchdown numbers through the air.
Over the last six games (including playoffs), the 49ers have allowed 14 touchdown passes fo four interceptions, with 6.9 yards per attempt while the Chiefs have given up just seven touchdowns to four interceptions and a 5.9 yards per attempt rate.
The 49ers aren’t a bad pass defense, but they have regressed some as the season has gone on and now they face the best quarterback in the league guided by one of the best offensive minds in Andy Reid. Injuries were part of the problem for the 49ers pass defense, but they still have issues to straighten out. There is an advantage for the Chiefs when it comes to passing, but there’s also no doubt that the 49ers can get after the quarterback. They must be able to disrupt Mahomes consistently if they want to slow him down.
The 49ers offensive line is slightly above average, but it’s their weakest unit, which has likely been a reason their pass defense has faltered some of late. Kansas City is weak against the run, which we will get to in the running back statistics article, but overall, they are strongest against outside wide receivers and still good, but weaker against slot receivers. So, there are some holes that Kyle Shanahan should be able to exploit for Garoppolo, especially underneath, where he does much of his work.
Notable quarterback performances against each defense:
Week 1: Gardner Minshew/Nick Foles — 27/33, 350 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Week 3: Lamar Jackson — 22/43, 267 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT — 8 rush, 46 yards, 1 TD
Week 4: Matthew Stafford — 21/34, 291 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
Week 6: DeShaun Watson — 30/42, 280 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs — 10 rush, 42 yards, 2 TDs
Week 8: Aaron Rodgers — 23/33, 305 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT — 6 rush, 29 yards
Week 9: Kirk Cousins — 19/38, 220 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT
Divisional Rd: DeShaun Watson — 31/52, 388 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT — 6 rush, 37 yards, 1 TD
Through 18 games, K.C. has allowed seven QBs to top 280 yards and eight to throw two or more touchdown passes.
Week 2: Andy Dalton — 26/42, 311 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Week 9: Kyler Murray — 26/42, 311 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT — 5 rush, 34 yards
Week 11: Kyler Murray — 24/33, 150 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT — 8 rush, 67 yards, 1 TD
Week 13: Lamar Jackson — 14/23, 105 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT — 16 rush, 101 yards, 1 TD
Week 14: Drew Brees — 29/40, 349 yards, 5 TDs, 0 INT — 1 rush, 1 yard, 1 TD
Week 15: Matt Ryan — 25/39, 210 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT — 5 rush, 27 yards
Week 16: Jared Goff — 27/46, 323 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Week 17: Russell Wilson — 25/40, 233 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INT — 8 rush, 29 yards
NFC Champ: Aaron Rodgers — 31/39, 326, 2 TDs, 2 INT
Through 18 games, S.F. has allowed four QBs to top 280 yards and nine to throw two or more touchdown passes.
Both teams have shown weaknesses against the pass, but their offenses have dominated, giving opposing teams more reason to throw the ball and accumulate statistics that might not have much bearing on the outcome. But, that also shows us that both of these offenses are great and can put up points, as the 49ers rank 2nd with 30.2 points per game and the Chiefs third with 29.8 points per game.
Patrick Mahomes is the better quarterback and also has a matchup edge, as the Chiefs pass defense has been slightly better of late.