Young QBs Face-off in Super Bowl
Mahomes and Garoppolo Clash in Biggest Game of The Year
By Sullivan Burgess ’20
On Sunday, February 2, Jimmy Garoppolo and the San Francisco 49ers will face Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami, FL. This is a matchup that analysists predicted on paper, however did not quite expect to happen due to the talent from other teams like the Baltimore Ravens, who have MVP candidate Lamar Jackson.
This season, the Chiefs dominated the AFC West Division with a 12-4 record, while the 49ers owned the NFC West with a 13-3 record. The Chiefs came from behind to pull out a 35-24 victory against the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Conference Championship, after the Titans had a unpredictable run to get to the game. The 49ers cruised over the Green Bay Packers 37-20 in the NFC Championship game. This will be the first Super Bowl appearance for the Chiefs since 1969 and the 49ers since 2012.
The Chiefs are led by Andy Reid, the head coach since 2013, while the 49ers are led by Kyle Shanahan, only in his third season, both itching to receive their first Super Bowl ring as a head coach.
The big story coming into this game is the huge matchup between the two previously mentioned quarterbacks, Garoppolo and Mahomes. Both quarterbacks are on their second full season of starting with incredible stories surrounding how they found their way into the big game.
Garoppolo was originally a second-round pick in 2014, and served as the backup for veteran Tom Brady in New England for three years, where he briefly started and went 2-0 in the 2016 season during Brady’s suspension.
Traded to the 49ers in 2017, Garoppolo was ready to lead a team on his own.
Sadly, at the beginning of the 2018 season, he suffered a torn ACL three games in. Yet he looks at that season as if it was a “blessing in disguise,” since it allowed the 49ers to acquire defensive end Nick Bosa in the 2019 NFL Draft. As the ultimate favorites throughout the season, the 49ers found their stride, as Garoppolo threw a 69.1 percent completion rate with 27 touchdowns.
Next, we look at the NFL’s reigning MVP Mahomes II, the tenth pick in the 2017 draft, that started for the first-time last season after sitting for a full season behind Alex Smith. Seizing the new opportunity, he finished with 50 touchdowns as a first-time starter and won the MVP award. The stakes were high for Mahomes this season, and he was certainly ready to deliver for not only himself after his loss to the Patriots in last year’s AFC championship, but also for the fans of Kansas City.
Mahomes’s father, former NY Met, Patrick Mahomes Sr. stated in a recent article for the Daily News, “We always had a mantra. The thing I always said to him was ‘Players make plays.’ He does whatever he can to make a play and that is refreshing in itself.”
Mahomes finished this season with 26 touchdowns with 4,031 yards and a 65.9 percent completion rate, solidifying himself as a top five quarterback in the league.
In the end it all comes down to this last game, a game that will test the skills of both players, as Garoppolo looks to find his first Super Bowl ring as a starter, third overall, while Mahomes looks to begin his Hall of Fame career with his first Super Bowl, the answer will come on Sunday.
PCI: Who Will Win Super Bowl LIV?
Kansas City Chiefs
The Kansas City Chiefs against the San Francisco 49ers: a matchup of two of the most consistent teams this season. The team that will be coming out victorious on Sunday will be the Kansas City Chiefs.
It has been 50 years since the Chiefs have made it to the Super Bowl. This has been a long time coming for Kansas City fans and they will be even happier soon. Make no mistake, the 49ers are a great football team with an outstanding running game and a defensive line that will hit you in the face every single snap. However, they do not have that “it” factor the Chiefs have, and that has a lot to do with a man named Patrick Mahomes.
The quarterback out of Texas Tech University has set the league on fire ever since he took the starting role in Kansas City. He has not put up numbers like he did in his MVP season last year, but he is thrown for 4,031 yards with 26 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while also posting the second best QBR (total quarterback ranking) at 76.3.
Needless to say, he has done all of this after coming back from a dislocated kneecap midseason. Mahomes is built for the big stage and he will be excited as ever to show everyone why he deserves to be called one of, if not the best, quarterback in football this season.
There are also some explosive players surrounding Mahomes on offense.
No lead is safe with the Chiefs. Kansas City’s high-powered offense has three Pro Bowlers: Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, and Mecole Hardman. They also have the down field threat and speedster Sammy Watkins. It is too much power for a very good San Francisco defense to contain.
The flip side of the ball will be the difference maker for the Chiefs. Their defense has been on a steady rise for most of the season and is peaking at the right time thanks to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who knows a thing or two about winning a championship as a defensive coordinator having won Super Bowl XLII with the New York Giants. The Chiefs secondary has been totally revamped compared to last season and safety Tyrann Mathieu has been a leader. The rush defense for the Chiefs is going to have to step up big if the Chiefs want to host the Lombardi Trophy, but with the massive momentum they have created over the past couple of weeks and an offense averaging 43 points per game this postseason, the Kansas City Chiefs will be crowned Super Bowl Champions.
– Liam Tormey ’22
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are primed to win this year’s Super Bowl, coming off of a dominant playoff performance and a remarkably successful regular season. They will face off on the second of February in Miami with the AFC Champions, the Kansas City Chiefs.
The 49ers have solidified themselves as a run-first offense from the onset of the season, with the combined forces of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman, and Deebo Samuel.
Recording an impressive 2,305 rushing yards as a team, as well as averaging 4.6 yards per carry, the 49ers have worn out defenses with their massive volume of rushing attempts. This enabled Jimmy Garoppolo to take the occasional deep looks to their star tight end, George Kittle, who led the team’s receiving corp, recording 1,053 yards and five touchdowns in the regular season. This explosive offense, implemented by Kyle Shanahan, led the 49ers to an impressive 8-0 start to the season, before a crushing loss to the Seahawks in overtime.
However, the story of the 2019-2020 49ers has not been the success of the offense, but rather their defense. The statistics speak for themselves: first in scoring defense with 15.3 points allowed per game, third in forced fumbles with 12, ninth in interceptions with 12, 10th in sacks with 23, and first in rushing defense with only 73.2 yards allowed per game.
Their defense is somehow just as star-studded as their offense from Richard Sherman to Arik Armstead and the astonishing rookie, Nick Bosa. Unfortunately, the stats simply do not do Nick Bosa’s performance justice. This is not to say that nine sacks in the regular season for a rookie defensive end is not special, but the most impressive aspect of Bosa’s game is the immense pressure he can put on quarterbacks. Combining his 6-foot-four-inch and 266-pound frame with a 4.79 second 40-yard dash will prove to be a major problem for the Chiefs’ offensive line.
Come Super Bowl Sunday, expect both teams to test their opponents’ defensive backfield, as it is likely the weakest point for each team. This applies particularly to the Chiefs, who will almost certainly struggle to move the ball on the ground against the iron-clad 49ers defensive line. Regardless, this will prove to be a shootout between two talented and young quarterbacks, with possibly the two most explosive offenses currently in the NFL.
– Gavin Woods ’22