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VOL. 44 | NO. 6 | Friday, February 7, 2020

Titans feel 49ers’ pain in Super Bowl loss

Can only contain Mahomes for so long

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Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates after scoring against San Francisco during the first half of Sunday’s Super Bowl.

-- Photo By Seth Wenig | Ap Photo

The San Francisco 49ers found out in the fourth quarter what the Tennessee Titans already knew –the explosive Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes could only be kept in check for so long before they gained control and won a Super Bowl championship Sunday night in Miami.

Kansas City’s 21-point fourth quarter erased what had looked like a solid 20-10 49ers lead all the way through three-and-a-half quarters of Super Bowl LIV.

It was much the same type of offensive outburst the Titans allowed in the AFC Championship Game when the Chiefs scored a late first-half touchdown to take the lead and then proceeded to put the game away with two big-play touchdowns in the fourth quarter. The type of big, dramatic plays that irreversibly change a game in a moment

Kansas City’s comeback victory once again goes to show that offense has become the name of the game in the NFL – even in the playoffs where usually running the football and playing strong defense has always been the calling card to winning in the postseason.

The Chiefs trailed by double digits in all three of their playoff games this postseason. They looked hopelessly lost for just over a quarter against the Houston Texans in the divisional round, falling into a 24-0 hole before Mahomes rallied them to a ridiculous 51-31 bashing of the Texans.

Then, as Titans fans know all too well, the Chiefs sleepwalked through much of the first half against Tennessee, trailing twice by 10 points before Mahomes’ 27-yard scramble at the end of the half undid virtually all of the Titans good work in the first 28 minutes of the game.

Kansas City once again looked to be on life support when Mahomes was intercepted by the 49ers Tarvarius Moore with 12 minutes to play in the game.

But the Chiefs would not be denied, as Mahomes overcame a third-and-15 with a 41-yard completion to Tyreek Hill that set up the first touchdown to Travis Kelce in the comeback.

Moments later, the Chiefs were at it again as Damien Williams put Kansas City ahead with just over two minutes left, and then for good measure found the end zone a second time with time running out to give the Chiefs the same 11-point margin of victory they had over the Titans in the AFC Championship Game.

While the Niners held the powerful Kansas City offense at bay for much of the game, the final proof was in the way the Chiefs exploded offensively down the stretch, making big plays in the passing game even when the San Francisco defense had done enough through three-plus quarters to make the Chiefs one-dimensional, forcing them to pass.

In many respects, the 49ers were a little better version of the Titans. Sure, they didn’t have the workhorse back like Derrick Henry to plow through the line with, but San Fran is a run-based team at heart with Tevin Coleman, Raheem Mostert and even rookie receiver Deebo Samuel sharing the rushing chores.

What the Niners brought to the table that the Titans couldn’t in the AFC title game was a pass rush that hounded Mahomes enough to sack him three times and force two interceptions.

It still was not enough for the Niners to outlast a dynamic quarterback like Mahomes and his potent crew of offensive weapons.

And it was a signal that the rest of the AFC – and the NFC too for that matter – has some work to do this offseason to catch up to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020.

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