For most of the past six seasons, the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense has been the headliner — not just for their team, but the entire league. Since Patrick Mahomes took over under center, he, Andy Reid, Travis Kelce, and previously Tyreek Hill, simply laid waste to opposing defenses, to the point that Kansas City’s own defense was mostly an afterthought. All the Chiefs really needed from Steve Spagnuolo’s unit was to not mess things up.
But after their latest Super Bowl victory — a 25-22 come-from-behind overtime classic — it’s remarkably clear that that is no longer the case. While Mahomes, Kelce, and in the end, Mecole Hardman got the chance to deliver the dramatic game-tying and game-winning drives at the end of regulation and overtime, Kansas City’s defense was the better unit throughout this season, and played its own massive role in defeating the San Francisco 49ers.
Kansas City finished the season ranked second in the NFL in both yards and points allowed, seventh in FTN’s defensive DVOA, and fifth in Tru Media’s version of EPA/play. In the Super Bowl, they ran up against a San Francisco offense that finished second in yards and third in points, as well as first in both DVOA and EPA/play.
The 49ers averaged a league-best 6.6 yards per play during the regular season. They limped to 5.3 per play in the Super Bowl. The Niners were the league’s fourth-best third-down offense this year, converting 47.5% of their opportunities. They went just 3 of 12 on Sunday — a 25.0% conversion rate. They were the NFL’s best red-zone team this season, too, scoring touchdowns on 67.2% of their trips inside the 20-yard line. But they went only 1 of 2 on Sunday, with the Chiefs buckling down and holding them to a field goal on the opening drive of overtime, setting the stage for Mahomes’ heroics.
Source link : https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/out-of-their-minds-chiefs-play-super-bowl-caliber-defense-vs-49ers-just-like-theyve-done-all-season-long/
Author : Jared Dubin
Publish date : 2024-02-12 05:37:54
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