If the San Francisco 49ers want to win on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII, maybe they ought to look at what the Las Vegas Raiders did on Christmas. In case people forget, the blueprint is right there if the Bay Area hopefuls want to win a Lombardi Trophy.
Raiders fans aren’t likely to be rooting for either of the teams involved in the season’s final clash. Unless we’re talking about those putting some money on the line, that’s different. Still, if the 49ers are paying attention, they could go back and look at what Jack Jones and Co. did to the Chiefs.
Luckily for the 49ers, they field one of the most dominant defenses that we’ve seen these past few seasons. If anyone’s up to the task of trying to slow down Patrick Mahomes, it would be Steve Wilks’ unit.
Patrick Graham and the Raiders have the blueprint…
As for the Raiders, Patrick Graham proved that if you can find a way to contain the Chiefs’ run game, anything is possible. Case in point: Christmas Day. No one on the Chiefs amassed more than 53 yards on the ground. Looking back, Mahomes was the team’s leading rusher on that day. More importantly, there were hardly any big plays on the ground surrendered as well—the passing game didn’t fare all that well either. One touchdown and one interception are about as pedestrian a game for Mahomes as you can get.
The image of Raiders cornerback Jack Jones returning that interception for a touchdown is going to go down in the Silver and Black’s lore.
Jack Jones fake giving this Chiefs fan a football is the first time I’ve been very bummed that he’s not a Patriot.
All time heel move pic.twitter.com/oQvNq1roxo
— Football (@BostonConnr) December 25, 2023
Pound the rock…
The Athletic’s Tashan Reed weighed in on all of this as well, pointing out that on offense, you need to keep the ball on the ground.
“With running back Zamir White taking 22 carries for 145 yards, the Raiders were able to hang on in the second half for the win. In controlling the clock with the run game, forcing the Chiefs’ offense into uncharacteristic turnovers, and preventing Mahomes from creating explosive plays downfield, the Raiders identified a sound approach to knocking off Kansas City.”
Basically, fewer opportunities for Mahomes means a higher probability of winning. The Chiefs can’t beat you if Mahomes is pouting on the sidelines. More importantly, if you back No. 15 into a corner, he’ll make mistakes. Go do it, Niners.