49ers Struggles Defending Mobile Quarterbacks Could Point to Chiefs' Victory in Super Bowl 54

Max Staley
Patrick Mahomes runs the ball against the Tennessee Titans.
Patrick Mahomes runs the ball against the Tennessee Titans. / David Eulitt/Getty Images
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Any way you want to look at it, the San Francisco 49ers have been one of the league's most dominant defenses. The 49ers were a top-eight scoring defense in the regular season, but they were particularly effective against the pass, surrendering the second-fewest passing yards per game, and finishing as the second-best unit against the pass, per Football Outsiders DVOA metric.

While most signal-callers have struggled to handle this fearsome front seven and stout secondary, there is one notable exception: mobile quarterbacks.

Against the likes of Lamar Jackson, Kyler Murray and Russell Wilson, San Francisco surrendered a total QBR of 71. When facing all other passers, that number drops all the way down to 28.

For context, Drew Brees' 71.8 QBR was the league's third-best mark in the regular season, while Mason Rudolph's 34.4 QBR was the worst mark among all qualified passers.

It's hard to fault SF too much for struggling against the likes of Jackson and Wilson, but Murray wasn't exactly a world beater in 2019 (55.8 QBR, No. 15 in the NFL). And this deficiency against mobile QBs could certainly rear its head in the Super Bowl against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Patrick Mahomes has rushed for 53 yards in back-to-back postseason games, and he's made a number of game-changing plays from outside of the pocket.

The 49ers do have two weeks to clean up this vulnerability, but this is undoubtedly a point in the Chiefs' favor.


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Max Staley is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Max Staley also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username mstaley1212. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.

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