Mathieu: Shanahan ‘a creative genius’

The 49ers’ offense has averaged 235.5 rushing yards per game so far in the playoffs

Last Updated: 28/01/20 7:10pm

Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu
Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu

Tyrann Mathieu is bracing himself for a huge test when he and the Kansas City Chiefs strive to contain Kyle Shanahan’s San Francisco 49ers offense in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

Alongside their explosive defensive front, the 49ers flaunted the No 2 ranked rushing offense in the league courtesy of Raheem Mostert, who led the team with 772 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman.

The mid-season acquisition of veteran receiver Emmanuel Sanders also added to the presence of rookie wideout Deebo Samuel and blocking machine George Kittle in enhancing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s options.

At the helm of their multi-faceted threat on offense is Shanahan, who has learned from a plethora of great offensive minds en route to his first head coach role.

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Take a look at how the Chiefs made it to Super Bowl LI
Take a look at how the Chiefs made it to Super Bowl LI

“A creative genius in a sense,” Mathieu told the media when discussing Shanahan in Tuesday’s press conference.

“And they find ways to get good leverage on you – they motion a lot, they disguise, they window dress things a lot. And I think they have the right players in the right spots, you know?

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“They run a lot of wide receiver reverses, wide receiver screens and I think Deebo Samuel is one of the best receivers at doing those things.

“They have a three-headed monster in the backfield – I think those guys are underrated, feel like all three of those guys can really, you know, wreck a football game and I think Jimmy G (Garoppolo) is playing good football right now and obviously (George) Kittle will be a tough challenge.”

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Check out the best of the 49ers’ dominant run game
Check out the best of the 49ers’ dominant run game

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, a creative mastermind himself, didn’t refrain from praising Garoppolo amid debate over the 49ers’ passing threat compared to their powerful running game.

Garoppolo threw just six passes for 77 yards and zero touchdowns as Mostert’s four-touchdown performance led the 49ers to victory over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship game.

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Reid explained: “I wouldn’t slight Jimmy (Garoppolo) because Jimmy can throw the ball when needed.

“You look at Jimmy’s percentages and passer rating over the last couple of years here, it’s up there, in really every situation and so as well as they run the football and as well as they make you honour every gap and every zone on the field, you can’t slight the pass game either.”

While his safety and head coach recognised the 49ers’ talents, the Chiefs’ star quarterback Patrick Mahomes underlined his side’s ability to win from multiple positions.

This was evidenced during the Divisional Round when the Chiefs came from 24-0 down against the Houston Texans to win 51-31 after seven-straight touchdown drives and 41 unanswered points.

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The reigning MVP and his Chiefs offense are tasked with finding a way past a 49ers defense that ranked first against the pass during the regular season.

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Ahead of Super Bowl LIV, take a look at one of the key men Tyreek Hill in action for Chiefs this season
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Mahomes added: “The best thing about this team is we’ve learned how to win different ways, as far as scoring early, scoring late, defense stopping us and us just scoring enough and so being able to plan every type of football game has prepared us to go out there and win in whatever way possible.

“They have the guys that are power rushers, they have guys that are speed rushers and they have everything in between and so for us we understand it’s going to be a great challenge playing up against this defense.”

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San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers says it’s historic to be the first female coach to reach the Super Bowl, and thanks head coach Kyle Shanahan for his support.
San Francisco 49ers offensive assistant Katie Sowers says it’s historic to be the first female coach to reach the Super Bowl, and thanks head coach Kyle Shanahan for his support.

Tight end Travis Kelce was similarly wary of San Francisco’s defensive potency, stressing the importance of cutting out costly errors.

“You’ve got to come out and be on the attack but the biggest thing is no dropped balls, no penalties – the things that really hurt us (in the divisional and AFC Championship games).

“Just coming out mistake-free really and being able to match the energy and the hype of the game knowing that, you know what? Everybody’s going to be wired up, fired up and ready to play and the game’s going to be a little bit faster than usual.”

“It’s the Super Bowl man, it’s the Super Bowl. I mean, if you’re not ready for this one then you’re doing your team an injustice.”

For 90 minutes of Super Bowl LIV build-up from Hard Rock Stadium with Rob Ryan and Josh Norman, join us on Sky Sports Action, Main Event and Mix from 10pm on Sunday, February 2.

Source : Sky Sports