Super Bowl 54: The 49ers offense continues to be overlooked

49ers, Super Bowl 54 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
49ers, Super Bowl 54 (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs have two of the best offenses in the NFL. But for some reason, the Niners offense continues to be overlooked ahead of their Super Bowl 54 matchup.

Super Bowl 54 is just a few days away and both the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are preparing for what promises to be an exciting game between two of the NFL’s elite teams.

One of the biggest talking points ahead of the Big Game has been the highly-anticipated battle between Kansas City’s high-powered offense and San Francisco’s dominant defense. But what’s seemingly being overlooked is the battle between the team’s other units.

While the attention is undoubtedly on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ offense, the 49ers offense has been overshadowed by their flashier counterparts. That’s not unexpected, but the two units remain more equal than most probably realize.

On a recent edition of The Lefkoe Show podcast, Warren Sharp even went as far as to declare that the 49ers have the more explosive offense of the two. And he backed it up with statistics as well.

Sharp iterated that the 49ers have the highest rate of explosive passing plays (gains of 20 yards or more) out of any team in the NFL not just this season, but over the last four seasons.

The most explosive passing offense will be playing in Super Bowl 54 on Sunday. But that team won’t be the Kansas City Chiefs. At least, that’s what the statistics show.

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How could this be? A 49ers team that rarely throws deep has had the most big-play potential over the past four years.

It all comes down to Kyle Shanahan and his brilliant offensive scheme. We’re talking crossers, screens, mesh concepts. Really anything designed to get his receivers the ball in open space.

That concept extends to the running game as well. Raheem Mostert has caught the NFL world by storm this season, but it’s not because he’s suddenly become Christian McCaffrey.

Mostert fits exactly what Shanahan is looking for in a running back. He has great athleticism, agility, and most importantly he has speed. Give him a little bit of space, and Mostert will be off to the races.

That’s exactly what Shanahan has looked for in his receivers. He wants receivers who can make stuff happen after the catch. Players who are as good of runners as they are actual receivers.

Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, these guys fit the scheme and that scheme has allowed the 49ers to gain chunk play after chunk play despite seldom taking shots downfield.

They don’t have to. And Shanahan only runs the offense that he has to run at any given moment.

Jimmy Garoppolo threw the ball eight times against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game. That wasn’t because the team didn’t trust him or because they feared the Packers pass defense.

The 49ers simply didn’t have to throw more than that.

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Meanwhile, the Chiefs rely on a downfield passing attack that also emphasizes speed, but it emphasizes it in a way that accentuates their quarterback’s talent more than the 49ers.

Kansas City takes shots downfield — and they do so a lot.

Who’s to say which is more explosive, but the numbers seemingly indicate that it is the Niners.

At the end of the day, however, quarterback play does trump all and you’d be foolish to argue that Garoppolo — as underrated as he might be — is even on the same playing field as Mahomes. And sometimes, talent does trump scheme.

Perhaps the Chiefs still have the more dangerous offense, you could certainly argue that they have more talented players. But what’s being overlooked in this matchup is just how effective the 49ers’ offense has been this season.

They may not have Tyreek Hill, but they have Deebo Samuel. They don’t have Travis Kelce, but they have George Kittle. And they don’t have Patrick Mahomes, but Jimmy Garoppolo has proven he could get the job done.

Next. 49ers: Positional analysis of the Super Bowl LIV matchup with the Chiefs. dark

This 49ers offense is dangerous, and the Chiefs would be wise to not overlook it.