Discussing the matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl during Monday morning’s episode of NFL Network’s Good Morning Football, host Peter Schrager first talked about San Francisco’s ‘get off the bus factor.’
“What does that mean?” explained Schrager. “When these guys get off the bus, you say, ‘Holy crap! That’s the Niners! The Niners are getting off the bus.’
“It’s not just Jimmy Garoppolo,” he continued. “It’s Nick Bosa. It’s Richard Sherman. It’s George Kittle. They’re coming in and it’s Mike McGlinchey and it’s Joe Staley and Kyle Juszczyk. Oh, and Arik Armstead is still on that bus. Kwon Alexander’s still coming off that bus. And then Fred Warner’s coming in after him?
“The Niners are so loaded; it’s not just a couple of speedsters — a couple of guys who are going to burn you in the deep game. The Niners are coming there to punch you in the mouth — and if you watch the film for the last two weeks, you saw them punch some pretty good defenses in the mouth: the Minnesota Vikings’ and the Green Bay Packers’.
Schrager said that the ‘get off the bus factor’ — which he said he learned from Phil Simms — favored the 49ers; they are a deeper, more well-rounded team.
Later in the show, Schrager continued in a similar vein.
”There are five names you’re going to hear a lot about in the next couple of days,” Schrager said, “because they’re all first-round-pick pass rushers: it’s Arik Armstead, it’s Nick Bosa, it’s Dee Ford. And you go to Solomon Thomas — and of course, you’ve got DeForest Buckner. Five first-round-picks that are going to be rushing the passer and getting in Patrick Mahomes’ face.”
But then Schrager swung back the other way.
“I’ll give you five names that might be better than that,” he said. “Eric Fisher, Stefen Wisniewski, Austin Reiter, Laurent Duvernay-Tardif and Mitchell Schwartz.
“Patrick Mahomes has been sacked nine times over the last eight weeks — and [he] has been absolutely unstoppable in that rushing game when the thing breaks down. The offensive line for the Chiefs is likely the best in all of football. And after last week — [when] I was waxing poetic about Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin and Rodger Saffold on the Tennessee Titans’ offensive line — the Chiefs’ offensive line put on such a performance that Mahomes was barely touched against the Titans.
“I think the Chiefs’ offensive line — with Schwartz, the best right tackle in football... Fisher, a former first-overall pick who is living up to that... Duvernay-Tardif, who is a doctor, but also a doctor of pass blocking... [with] the Chiefs offensive line — for all the roses and bouquets we’re throwing around about the Niners’ pass rush — if Mahomes doesn’t get touched, then [the Niners] have no shot on Sunday!
“I think those guys are a brick wall,” Schrager concluded. “You know the Great Wall of China? The Great Wall of Kansas City. Those five offensive linemen are the underrated unit.”
At first glance, Schrager could be seen as playing both sides of the fence. But in each case, he’s right. The 49ers have assembled a very talented roster — and their pass rushing unit is excellent. But it’s also true that after struggling with injuries earlier in the season, the Kansas City offensive line has been playing very well down the stretch — and in the postseason.
It’s going to be quite a game on Sunday.