Chiefs 49ers Offensive Line

Recognizing Both Super Bowl Offensive Lines

Super Bowl LVIII, where the spotlight intensifies in the 2020 sequel between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs. This time, the trenches where battles are less visible but immensely critical, draw my focus. Let’s take a look at the big uglies and dissect the offensive lines of both teams. Unraveling their strengths, weaknesses, and the pivotal matchups expected to unfold on Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers: A Mixed Bag of Brilliance and Vulnerability

At the heart of the 49ers’ offensive line is Trent Williams, a colossus amongst Left Tackles. The All-Pro is looking for his revenge against the Chiefs to polish his football resume with a Super Bowl ring. His presence often overshadows the unit’s shortcomings, yet the disparity in performance levels across the line cannot be ignored. 

Aside from Williams, the offensive line exhibits a stark drop in proficiency. I highlight Jon Feliciano, being the next best with a considerable gap. Feliciano, primarily a backup, has pivoted across the interior positions, landing at right guard for the Super Bowl.

Brock Purdy using his legs in the NFC Championship game was a microcosm of the season. He has faced pressure in 39.0% of his snaps this year. For the 49ers to dominate, enhancing their pass protection becomes paramount. Ensuring Purdy can exploit his league-leading yards per attempt statistic gives them a chance to make splash plays.

Despite having a talented roster that led them to the big game, they will have their hands full against a formidable defense like the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City will get to Brock Purdy, who was sacked 1.9 times per game on average and struggled under pressure, especially whenever they were down one of their critical offensive playmakers on the outside.

Kansas City Chiefs: A Tale of Cohesion and Resilience

The starting five up front showcased remarkable continuity for the defending Super Bowl champs; missing a mere six starts across the campaign. Central to their strength is the interior line, where Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey, and Trey Smith have formed a great chemistry, albeit with Thuney’s participation in the Super Bowl hanging in the balance due to injury.

Challenges for the Chiefs emanate from the tackle positions, where newcomers have struggled with penalties and consistency. Despite these hurdles, the Chiefs’ offensive line has excelled in adjusted sack rate, positioning second, a testament to their adeptness in shielding quarterback Patrick Mahomes. To maintain their championship pedigree, reinforcing their run blocking and minimizing penalties has been critical.

The New Chiefs

This season marked a significant departure from the high-flying, explosive playstyle that fans had become accustomed to in the Patrick Mahomes era. Their once-dominant passing game experienced a notable decline in efficiency and productivity. Many of the wide receivers, including Kadarius Toney, Marquez-Valdes Scantling, and Skyy Moore, underperformed, still failing to fill the void left by Tyreek Hill’s departure.

Their contributions were less impactful, and faced a tremendous amount of criticism. Even Travis Kelce, Mahomes’ most trusted target, appeared to have less room to work with when they were less threatening outside.

This strategic pivot paid dividends in the playoffs, where the Chiefs’ offense showed signs of resurgence. Mahomes became more efficient, making the most out of structured plays and minimizing mistakes. Remarkably, no quarterback took more passing snaps than Mahomes this postseason. Yet, he managed to avoid any turnover-worthy plays, a testament to his mistake avoidance and the offense’s overall improvement in crucial moments. This adaptability not only highlights Mahomes’ versatility as a quarterback but also underscores the Chiefs’ unwavering commitment to finding ways to win, even when it means adjusting their famed offensive approach.

Key Matchups and Strategies

49ers Offensive Line vs. Chiefs Defensive Front

The 49ers must elevate their pass protection schemes to counteract the Chiefs’ defensive pressure, particularly from players like Chris Jones. Solidifying their right guard and center positions against the Chiefs’ interior rushers will be crucial. They’re complex and unique blocking techniques, while effective in their outside zone blocking scheme, often left them vulnerable against aggressive pass rushes. To add, the Chiefs defense has been excellent chasing the ball sideline to sideline. They will need efficient reach blocking from their offensive tackles here. It will need to be the staple of their run game.

With Chris Jones dominating the inside they’ll struggle inside the tackles. If they can overcome their challenges, Christian McCaffrey will do the rest to secure a Super Bowl victory. If the 49ers are unable to maintain a lead early in the game this will apply more pressure onto Brock Purdy.


Chiefs Offensive Line vs. 49ers Defensive Front

Kansas City’s tackles face a stern test against the 49ers’ pass rush, notably from Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead. The Chiefs’ ability to maintain a clean pocket for Mahomes hinges on their tackles’ performance. Furthermore, the Chiefs’ offense was plagued by a multitude of mistakes, including leading the NFL in offensive penalties and ranking high in turnovers and dropped passes. 

Late in the season, they simplified their approach gearing up for their run. Reducing the complexity of their verbiage in the huddle and focusing on cleaner pre-snap execution. This shift not only cleaned up the pre-snap chaos but also paved the way for post-snap success. When it mattered the most, Mahomes, the offensive line, and wide receivers had more time to survey defenses and make adjustments.

 Securing the Lombardi Trophy


For the San Francisco 49ers, the path to victory involves bolstering their pass protection to mitigate the Chiefs’ defensive aggressiveness. The O-Line’s focus must be emphasized, ensuring quarterback Brock Purdy can leverage his exceptional throwing efficiency under reduced pressure.

Conversely, the Kansas City Chiefs must address their run blocking and penalty issues to establish a balanced offensive threat. Ensuring Joe Thuney’s availability and minimizing disruptions from the 49ers’ pass rush are pivotal for sustaining drives and capitalizing on scoring opportunities.

As Super Bowl LVIII looms, the battles within the trenches will undoubtedly play a decisive role in who wins. Both offensive lines carry the weight of their team’s aspirations. With that being said, I trust the Chiefs to execute and make more plays in the trenches to secure their third Lombardi Trophy in the past five seasons. 


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