The battle between the 49ers’ prolific offense and the Kansas City Chiefs’ stingy defense will be a key matchup during Super Bowl LVIII, and there could be a path for the 49ers to gain the advantage.
Speaking with NBC Sports Bay Area’s Laura Britt on Thursday on Radio Row in Las Vegas, Cincinnati Bengals wide receivers Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins pointed out how the 49ers’ receiving corps can exploit the Chiefs’ defense .
“The biggest thing for the receivers and the 49ers is I think Christian McCaffrey is going to have to start, get the run game going, get those guys down the field, then they’re going to hit him with the play and get those routes downfield,” he said. Chase. “They have great weapons all over the field, (George) Kittle, Deebo (Samuel) and (Brandon) Aiyuk, so they have a lot of different weapons right now.”
Higgins echoed Chase’s assessment, noting how critical it will be for San Francisco to win one-on-one matchups with Kansas City’s secondary.
“They have to win the 1-on-1s when they have those opportunities, and take advantage of those 1-on-1s, and the defense makes stops (for them to be successful),” Higgins told Britt.
Later in the interview, both Bengals receivers were asked what they thought of the 49ers’ receiving group, particularly players like Samuel and Aiyuk, who have become standouts for San Francisco this season.
“They are all playmakers; Do you know what I’m talking about?” Chase said. “Everyone can make something happen with the ball, after the catch, their YAC (yards after the catch) is, everything’s fine, you know, going from Kittle to even “McCaffrey, put McCaffrey in space, on a little hitch or option route. If they come out from behind, everyone could YAC when they have the ball in their hands and that’s why the 49ers are so good.”
While the 49ers have one of the best offenses in the league, the Chiefs have had an excellent season on defense, with veteran defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo taking down elite offenses like the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs. The matchup between Kyle Shanahan and Spagnuolo is one of the critical coaching battles in what figures to be an electrifying Super Bowl rematch.
There’s a lot on the line in Super Bowl LVIII, as Shanahan will look to finally get over the hump after multiple Super Bowl losses. Meanwhile, the Chiefs are looking to win their third Vince Lombardi Trophy in five seasons and become the first team to win back-to-back Super Bowls in 20 years.