Travis Kelce’s versatility makes him a nightmare for defenders
Both of these guys are so good, but I’m giving the edge to Travis Kelce. He is so versatile in the pass game, which allows Andy Reid to line the tight end up anywhere on the line. In fact, according to Next Gen Stats, Kelce has aligned as an isolated receiver on 26.1 percent of his routes (highest among TEs, min. 200 routes), and he has been extremely productive in the process. Kelce caught 32 of 45 isolated targets for 452 yards and a TD this season (including playoffs). There isn’t a defender who’s been able to consistently shut this guy down.
Will Kansas City provide help for Eric Fisher on Nick Bosa, or will they try to test Fisher and see if he can hold his own? — @Tra4Duce
I assume the Chiefs will use a running back to help either Fisher or Mitchell Schwartz for pass protection, but that’s about it. The reason why you wouldn’t pack the box to help the pass protection unit is because you want those offensive players, either the running back or the tight end, working into the route concept.
Ideally, the players you trust to pass protect, especially at tackle for the Chiefs, have to get the job done. Also, what makes the Niners’ pass rush so tough to scheme against is they have four guys who can beat you. If you help the right tackle, well, the other three rushers can win. There are going to be plenty of opportunities for the 49ers to win up front.
Fun to watch
24) Donovan McNabb (0-1 with Eagles)
25) Russell Wilson (1-1 with Seahawks)
26) Boomer Esiason (0-1 with Bengals)
27) Daryle Lamonica (0-1 with Raiders)
28) Matt Ryan (0-1 with Falcons)
29) Earl Morrall (0-1 with Colts)
30) Patrick Mahomes (TBD with Chiefs)
1. 49ers +1
Patrick Mahomes is the star of this game. He’s one of the quarterbacks that the league hopes will become the future of the NFL. All of this is for a good reason, as Mahomes is awesome, and does incredible things regularly. He’s the biggest reason the Chiefs have ended their AFC title drought, and if the Chiefs are going to win this game, it will be because of Patrick Mahomes.
But you know what? I don’t think Mahomes is going to have a great game. You will be shocked to learn that Mahomes is still a human quarterback, and like nearly all quarterbacks, he does not perform nearly as well under pressure as when he has time to find his target. Well, there is no defense better at getting pressure on the QB than San Francisco, and the Chiefs have not had to deal with a pass rush like the one they’ll be facing in the Super Bowl. The San Francisco defense, combined with an offense that can control the clock, will limit what the typically explosive Chiefs offense can do, and the 49ers will win this game — and cover — because of it.
“Some coaches can be territorial because they want to leverage kids for their own success,” said Bobby Stroupe, a personal trainer in Tyler who has worked with Mahomes since the future Kansas City Chiefs quarterback was in the fourth grade.
“But when everybody gets out of the way of their own ego, good things can happen. Patrick has been very good at managing situations, and the people around him have been incredibly good at making decisions that have helped him.”
1969 vs. 1994 world events
One of the biggest moments in both the U.S. and the world history was the Apollo 11 mission, which successfully put the first-ever man on the moon. The mission, led by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, launched on July 11, 1969, and landed on the moon on July 20.
Tyler Biadasz OL
Biadasz slips a bit but the Chiefs welcome him with open arms. He is a strong interior lineman capable of solidifying the center position for many years in Kansas City.
Around the NFL
Brown’s bond was set at $100,000 for a felony burglary with battery charge. The total bond for three charges, stemming from an alleged assault of a moving truck driver earlier this week, is $110,000. Brown will be monitored by GPS and be required to release his passport and guns, go through drug and alcohol testing, and get a mental health evaluation.
Miami’s history is intertwined with Super Bowl history. South Florida has seen the game go from a concept to an enormous event, from the gritty Orange Bowl to whatever that luxurious suburban stadium is called now. Miami held the first Super Bowl with a roman numeral (V) and the first one on artificial turf (also V). It’s where the Super Bowl first ditched marching bands at halftime—Up With People performed at Super Bowl X.
According to a Rocky River (Ohio) police report, officers pulled Hunt over for speeding and noticed the smell of marijuana in the car. Hunt was placed in the back of the police cruiser while officers conducted a search. They found small amounts of marijuana in a backpack in the backseat. Police seized the backpack as evidence.
Hunt was cited only for the speeding violation.
When Gronk was healthy, no play in football felt more automatic than a throw to him in the red zone. And the scary part is that New England had about a dozen different ways to get him the ball. He’d rumble down the seam and catch a fireball from Brady for a quick-strike score. When teams started accounting for those, Gronkowski would bend his route to the corner and catch a lofted ball near the pylon. He’d sprint into the flat, swat a defender away like a fly, and chug 20 more yards into the end zone. People may have considered Gronk a lovable goofball, but the amount of work that New England put on his plate showed that Bill Belichick and his staff clearly respected his football acumen. “They put him in I don’t know how many different situations,” Woodhead says. “They lined him up everywhere. In order to handle all that, you’ve got to be pretty smart.”
Derek Carr OAK • QB • 4
2020 Salary Cap Number: $21.5 million
2020 Compensation: $19 million
2020 Dead Money: $5 million
2020 Salary Cap Savings: $16.5 million
There has been plenty of speculation that Carr won’t be making the Raiders’ move to Las Vegas. Soon-to-be free agent quarterback Tom Brady chatting with Raiders owner Mark Davis at UFC 246 in Las Vegas last Saturday night has only added to this narrative. $2.9 million of Carr’s $18.9 million 2020 base salary becomes fully guaranteed on the third day of the 2020 waiver period, which is Feb. 5.
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“I think he adds a different element to their offense — physicality,” said Mathieu. “More so, the attitude that he plays with. He seems like he is having a ball every ball game. It will be important for me — and guys like Dan (Sorensen) — to match that energy and just compete.”
It is worth noting Kittle’s slow start in this year’s playoffs. The tight end has had only four catches for 35 yards in the postseason, while Raheem Mostert, for example, had 29 carries for 220 yards and four touchdowns solely in the NFC championship.
In four postseason appearances with the Chiefs, the Clemson product has never had fewer than 62 yards receiving, amassing 19 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown. With opponents devoting significant resources to slowing down Kelce and Hill, the Chiefs have absolutely needed the man they signed to a three-year, 48-million dollar deal in 2018.
SB Nation’s Fan Pulse (after the AFC Championship Game)
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