After narrowly getting past two NFC playoff challengers, the San Francisco 49ers and Kyle Shanahan have got to dine with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs at Super Bowl LVIII. And while previous experience will help the Red & Gold, stopping one of the best to ever do it is always a challenge.
The 49ers coach spoke in high regard of Mahomes Thursday, saying he’s as daunting of a foe as he’s ever faced in the NFL. Shanahan also praised the Chiefs organization for their resilience this season, giving props to Andy Reid for his coaching prowess as well.
That’s why Shanahan wasn’t surprised to see KC emerge out of the AFC, knowing they are in every single game they play until the final whistle.
“I think it’s not a coincidence why they have. I think the quarterback is as hard to beat as anyone who’s ever played the game,” Shanahan said Thursday.
“The things he can do from a talent standpoint and then you pair that up with his scheme with Andy, how Andy runs a team with Mahomes’ experience now.
“That’s why no matter what type of game it is, whether it’s low scoring, high scoring, whether they’re struggling or not, they always have a chance.”
The Chiefs are yet to be beaten by the 49ers since Mahomes took the helm, going 2-0 in regular season meetings. His stat line is absurd from both contests as well, throwing for 737 passing yards, six touchdowns, and only one interception.
Also, Mahomes played SF in Super Bowl LIV, orchestrating a 10-point comeback in the fourth quarter to win 31-20.
All of that still remains a threat, including a complementary run game spearheaded by Isaiah Pacheco.
“They’ve got a good runner. He runs hard. He is always the same. He is one of the more consistent players in this league,” Kyle Shanahan stated.
“Every single run, first run to the last run, to whenever you turn on the clip, cold weather, on the road, at home. He runs extremely hard. He’s our type of runner that we like.
“I’d say that’s the best thing. They’ve got some good blockers. They’ve got a scheme they mix up. When you’re real scary in the pass game too, that always helps the run game.”
Chiefs’ offensive numbers didn’t reflect that for much of the regular season though.
Mahomes and the Chiefs’ passing offense dropped over 40 yards per game from 2022 to 2023. The run game did the same, dropping from 115 ypg to 108 in 2023.
Those numbers have jumped back up in the postseason however, with KC playing their best ball of late. Couple that with a resilient group and a lights-out defense (#7 in DVOA), Kyle Shanahan knows next Sunday will be the 49ers’ toughest test.
“If they can keep it close, he is really tough to stop. When you can always have a chance and you’ve also got a really good defense, you’ve got a great coaching staff, [and] a great head coach, that’s usually a very good formula to win most games,” the 49ers’ coach said.