Loaded with primetime games, SF 49ers face tough road in 2020

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo prepares to throw in Super Bowl LIV as Garoppolo will lead the 49ers in the 2020 season that is if the NFL gets the nod to open up the season. (si.com file photo)

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

While its still unknown if the sports landscape will return amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the NFL continues to operate as normal, officially releasing its 2020 regular-season schedule for all 32 teams Thursday.

Time to mark your calendars 49ers fans. (Hopefully).

See full schedule here: https://www.49ers.com/schedule/

After losing in heartbreaking fashion to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami back in February after holding a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the San Francisco 49ers’ road back to the Super Bowl will be a daunting one.

San Francisco will tussle with both the NFC and AFC East squads on top of their NFC West opponents in 2020.

The reigning NFC Champions will have six games against 2019 playoff teams, including the Seattle Seahawks (twice), New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers, Philadelphia Eagles, and New England Patriots. San Francisco has the fourth-toughest schedule in 2020, with their upcoming opponents were a collective 134-120-2 (.527 winning percentage) in 2019.

Expectations are sky-high for San Francisco heading into the season after a 13-win campaign last year.

All eyes will be glued on 49ers starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo in 2020 to see if he can follow up an impressive 2019 season. In his first full year as a starter, Garoppolo shined as the top signal-caller for San Francisco, throwing for 3,978 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.

With rumors swirling that general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan were contemplating signing Tom Brady, San Francisco decided that they’re all in with the 28-year-old Garoppolo for the long haul.

For the first time since 2017, the 49ers will open up the season at Levi’s®Stadium with the Arizona Cardinals rolling into town. In the opener, San Francisco will get an up close and personal look at the Cardinals’ biggest offseason acquisition in wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Arizona acquired the dynamic playmaker from the Houston Texans, in exchange for running back David Johnson with each team picking up multiple draft picks too.

This year marks the first time since 2016 that the 49ers will kickoff the season against a divisional opponent.

San Francisco will be prominently featured in primetime, playing four of the five games at Levi’s®Stadium:

  • Week 4 against Philadelphia Eagles (Sunday Night Football)
    • The 49ers last faced the Eagles in 2017, in which San Francisco were throttled 33-10 in Philadelphia.
  • Week 6 against Los Angeles Rams (Sunday Night Football)
    • San Francisco and Rams meet for the second-straight year on Sunday Night Football. The 49ers won both meetings last year, including their last-minute victory in Week 16 that saw San Francisco convert back-to-back 3rd-and-16 completions from Garoppolo to engineer the win.
  • Week 9 against Green Bay Packers (Thursday Night Football)
    • Green Bay will make their third-straight trip to Levi’s®Stadium within a calendar year. The Packers and 49ers met twice last year, in Week 12, and again in the NFC Championship game, with the 49ers winning 37-20 and locking up their first Super Bowl appearance since 2013.
  • Week 13 against Buffalo Bills (Monday Night Football)
    • The Buffalo Bills, who have high expectations of their own heading into the 2020 season, will make their first-ever trip to Levi’s®Stadium. The Bills made a splash in the offseason, trading a bevy of picks to the Minnesota Vikings for electric wide receiver Stefon Diggs to help third-year quarterback Josh Allen’s development as a passer.
  • Week 15 at Dallas Cowboys (Sunday Night Football)
    • Talk about two organizations that aren’t strangers to one another. Both organizations have won five Super Bowls and feel that this is the year that they both can win their sixth. With this matchup late in the year, this could be a potential playoff preview or at the least, a playoff spot will be up for grabs.

San Francisco has three separate stands of back-to-back road matchups, starting with Weeks 2 and 3.

The 49ers are set to face the New York Jets then New York Giants at Met Life Stadium in consecutive weeks, marking just the second time in team history that San Francisco is taking on the Jets and Giants in consecutive weeks (Weeks 13-14 of 1986) and the first time doing so on the road in back-to-back weeks.

Last year, the 49ers stayed on the east coast in between road games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 1) and the Cincinnati Bengals (Week 2), and the Baltimore Ravens (Week 13), and the New Orleans Saints (Week 14).

In Week 7, San Francisco will head to the Northeast to take on the New England Patriots in Jimmy Garoppolo’s return to Foxborough. The following week, San Francisco will travel to the Pacific Northwest for their first matchup against NFC West rival, the Seattle Seahawks.

Unlike last season’s Week 4, this year the 49ers’ bye comes in Week 11, which could be vital for San Francisco who could be fighting for playoff positioning. This marks the third time in four seasons that San Francisco have had their Bye in Week 11.

Following the Bye, the 49ers will evenly split their final six contests between home and road trips and a final meeting against each of their division rivals.

For the second-straight year, the 49ers and Seahawks face each other in the season finale. Week 17 could prove to have playoff implications again, similar to 2019 where the 49ers clinched the NFC West in Seattle thanks to then-rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw’s goal line stop on Seahawks tight end Jacob Hollister that perserved a 26-21 victory.

The 49ers will open and close the regular-season at home for the first time since 2016.

Reports: 49ers acquire Redskins offensive tackle Trent Williams for two picks

Trent Williams joins the San Francisco 49ers after playing in Washington he joins the 49ers as of Saturday’s news (bleacherreport.com file photo) 

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

The saga between the Washington Redskins and perennial Pro Bowl offensive tackle Trent Williams appears to have finally ended, with Washington agreeing to send Williams to the San Francisco 49ers according to Williams’ agent, Vincent Taylor on Saturday.

“The time has come to part ways,” Taylor said in a statement. “Trent Williams is ready to get back to competing in the NFL and is glad to be a part of a great organization like the San Francisco 49ers.”

The Redskins will send Williams to San Francisco in exchange for a fifth-round pick in this year’s NFL draft, and a third-round pick in 2021, league sources confirmed to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

NFL Media and ESPN first reported the details of the completed trade.

Sources also confirmed to Schefter that Williams and the 49ers are expected to restructure the final year of his contract, in which he’s scheduled to make $12.5 million this season.

Williams. 31, has played every game at left tackle since entering the NFL in 2010 as Washington’s No. 4 overall pick. He played his first four NFL seasons with Mike Shanahan as coach and Kyle Shanahan as offensive coordinator.

Now that Williams is in the fold, it appears that left offensive tackle Joe Staley’s time with the 49ers is coming to an end after 13 seasons.

On Monday, 49ers general manager John Lynch said he was confident that Staley would return for his 14th season in 2020 when he spoke to local reporters. But those who watched the 49ers closely in 2019 saw that Staley was breaking down and maybe considering calling it a career.

But according to an additional report by Schefter on Saturday that Staley is expected to retire do to health concerns, which allowed the trade for Williams to take shape:

Who can forget following San Francisco’s close Week 17 win in Seattle, Staley left the field in tears?

“I was super emotional after that game,” Staley said in Seattle. “Been a long time, haven’t won here since 2011. I was overcome with emotion on the field. I sprinted into the tunnel because I was getting choked up.”

Staley, who hardly missed games during his career, missed a career-high nine games in 2019 due to injuries, including a broken leg and a broken and dislocated finger.

49ers draft two players Thursday that could help right away in Round One

Defensive tackle of the San Francisco 49ers Javon Kinlaw who was selected out of South Carolina seen here during his collegiate days (AP Photo)

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Armed with two first-round picks (No. 13 and No. 31 overall) heading into the 2020 NFL Draft, the talk that the San Francisco 49ers would select a play-making wide receiver with their first pick was a forgone conclusion.

After swapping the 13th pick with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (who was selecting 14th overall), the 49ers selected South Carolina defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw on Thursday night. San Francisco also acquired the 117th pick (fourth-round) in the deal from the Vikings, although they also had to surrender a seventh-rounder to complete the deal.

The 49ers have now drafted a defensive lineman in the first round in five of the past six drafts.

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has a new weapon to deploy on opposing offenses.

Kinlaw can help San Francisco right away, filling a void that was left after the team decided to trade defensive lineman DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts last month. In exchange for Buckner, the 49ers received the No. 13 overall pick from the Colts.

A native of Trinidad, Kinlaw is still a newbie to the game of football. Kinlaw spent most of his childhood homeless and moved around often. After playing in junior college right out of high school, Kinlaw’s road navigated to South Carolina where he would played in 37 of 38 games and was named a team captain.

The 6-foot-5, 324-pound Kinlaw finished his collegiate career with 82 tackles, 10 sacks, 17 tackles for loss, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, and eight passes defensed in three seasons. He was named a first-team All-American after totaling six sacks and six tackles for a loss as a senior with the Gamecocks.

Later in the first-round, San Francisco made another deal, trading away the No. 31, No. 117 (acquired from the Buccaneers) and No. 176 to the Minnesota Vikings for the No. 25 pick. With that pick, the 49ers selected Arizona State wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk.

In a draft that is rich with talent at wide receiver, the 49ers selected the 6-foot-tall, 205-pound Sun Devil product that has a gigantic 81-inch wingspan making his catch radius seemingly endless. Most draft experts has Aiyuk as an above-average route runner with the burst to separate from man-to-man coverage. Aiyuk could face some trouble early adjusting to the NFL, but should flourish as he gets comfortable in 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense.

With the loss of veteran wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders in free agency to the New Orleans Saints in the offseason, Aiyuk gives franchise quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo another pass-catching threat.

Aiyuk, who is a native of Reno, NV, attended Sierra College in Rocklin, CA before moving on to Arizona State, where he caught 98 passes for 1,666 yards and 11 touchdowns in two seasons in the desert.

 

Headline Sports podcast with Barbara Mason: How much blame will be put on Garoppolo; Can Cal put some more wins together; plus more

photo from boston.com: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo looking glum after the 49ers loss in Super Bowl LIV in Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium Sun Feb 2

On Headline Sports with Barbara:

#1 Talk has been who to blame for the 49ers loss and collapse does some of that blame fall on 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garopplo?

#2 The Cal Bears have put some some win together they have won two of their last three games with wins over Stanford and Oregon State it won’t put them in the big dance in March but the Bears certainly executed their game to pick up the wins

#3 How serious is it that Tom Brady could come to Las Vegas, there have been a lot of scenarios considered where Brady could go and the Raiders were one of those teams considered.

#4 We had a chance to ask talk Oakland A’s Spanish radio broadcaster Amaury Pi Gonzalez about Oakland A’s pitcher Frankie Montas who is looking forward to the 2020 season how much has Montas put the PED suspension behind him

#5 The San Francisco Giants are starting the season without a lot of the familiar faces but a lot of young players and even their coaching staff has little or no Major League coaching experience how do you see this for the Giants going into the season.

Barbara Mason does Headline Sports each Tuesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Super Collapse in Super Bowl LIV

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo (10) stands on the field, during the second half of the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs’, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla

By: Joe Lami

This one is going to sting the faithful for quite some time. The Kansas City Chiefs completed their third double-digit comeback of the postseason to blow past the Niners 31-20 in the closing minutes of Super Bowl LIV to capture the franchises’ second Lombardi Trophy, and first in 50 years.

Epic collapses are becoming a common theme for Kyle Shanahan in big games, as the 49ers coach has been the offensive play-caller for two of the largest blown leads in Super Bowl history. 10-point, fourth-quarter leads have been blown three times, with Shanahan now operating the offenses of two of them.

ESPN’s Ed Werder later pointed out that the Niners had 14 snaps with the lead, and Garoppolo drop backed to pass on nine of them, a higher dropback percentage than his first Super Bowl mishap with the Falcons.

His misfortune becomes Andy Reid’s celebration as the future Hall of Famer finally captures his first Lombardi Trophy. Patrick Mahomes was named MVP, solidifying his position as the face of the league. His electric playmaking ability was just too much for a tired-looking 49ers’ defense to hang on at the end.

The Niners played great up until the fourth. The run-game was dominant, with Deebo Samuel leading the way with three carries for 52 yards, while hauling in five catches for 39 yards. Jimmy Garoppolo threw a TD and an interception, completing 17 of 20 passes for 183 yards.

Then, Shanahan began to out-think himself with shotty playcalling, with a tired defense on the other end that held Mahomes to what would have been a career-low 10 points. After intercepting a pass on Kansas City’s first drive in the fourth, the offense stalled with what should’ve been the dagger.

The Niners started to get pass-happy on the drive, dropping back on three of the five plays with two being incompletions and one turning into a Jimmy G scramble. After just taking three minutes off the clock, it quickly gave the ball back to K.C. as they jump-started their comeback.

There was no need to pass the ball; they were averaging 6.4 yards-per-carry and dashing the Chiefs every time they ran to the right, finishing with eight carries for 79 yards. Instead, they coughed up momentum to the NFL’s best player with a championship on the line.

The Niners’ next shot to end it came on the ensuing possession. They even forced Kansas City into a 3rd and 15, but Mahomes found Tyreek Hill on a 44-yard bomb, (that was set up by an obvious non-holding call), thanks to Emmanuel Moseley biting off of his Cover 3 zone to an underneath route. Later a defensive P.I. Call set up the Chiefs on the one-yard-line for an easy score, making it 20-17.

Shanahan then turned to the dull, run, pass, pass for a quick three and out, only taking 1:03 off the clock, allowing Mahomes ample time with 5:03 to go to set up the victory. He quickly marched down the field, picking up a huge chunk of their 65-yard drive on a pass to Sammy Watkins that burned Richard Sherman in one-on-one coverage, eventually setting up the score.

Thanks to the quick score, they were given another chance with 2:44 to operate, down 24-20. After advancing the ball to midfield, thanks to a 17-yard rush by Mostert (to the right side), and a quick pass over the middle to Kenrick Bourne, they decided to take their chance. Garoppolo fired one deep to Emmanuel Sanders, attempting to cement his name in the record books alongside Joe Montana and Steve Young, but overthrew the wide-open target by five yards.

Instead, the Niners turned the ball over on downs and the Super Bowl to Kansas City.

It’s unfair to point all of the blame for this collapse solely on Shanahan. The defense didn’t step up when it needed like it had most of the season, and Garoppolo misfired a couple of crucial throws. But then again, it was Shanahan that forced them into that situation due to poor clock management and only running the ball three times with the lead in the fourth.

Chiefs end 50-year title drought, knock off Niners in Super Bowl LIV 31-20

chinapost.nownews.com photo: Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Pat Mahomes (15) is jubilant as the Chiefs win their first Super Bowl since 1970 at The Hard Rock Café Stadium in Miami on Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, February 2, 2020

Going into Super Bowl LIV, Kansas City coach Andy Reid had the most coaching wins without winning the NFL championship.

That status changed Sunday at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla., after the Chiefs came from behind to defeat the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. It was the Chiefs’ first championship triumph since their win over Minnesota in Super Bowl IV in January 1970.

Kansas City outscored the 49ers 21-0 in the fourth quarter to complete their comeback from a 20-10 deficit.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, selected as the game’s most valuable player, completed 26 of 42 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran nine times for 29 yards and a touchdown.

Other leaders for Kansas City included Damien Williams, who rushed 17 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. Tyreek Hill caught nine passes for 105 yards, and Sammy Watkins caught five passes for 98 yards.

San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo completed 20 of 31 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown. Raheem Mostert led 49er ball carriers with 58 yards on 12 carries. Deebo Samuel caught five passes for 39 yards.

At 9:29 of the third quarter, Gould’s 42-yard field goal put the 49ers up 13-10. Four minutes later, Fred Warner’s interception of a Mahomes pass set up the next 49ers score, a 1-yard run by Mostert made it a two-possession game at 20-10.

Mahomes threw his second pick, this one to Tavarius Moore on a pass intended for Hill at 12:04 of the fourth quarter.

Kansas City closed its deficit to 20-17 at 6:13 of the fourth quarter when Mahomes found Travis Kelce open for a 1-yard TD pass.

Mahomes engineered a 10-play, 83-yard drive that included converting two third-and-long situations. After a 6-yard run by Mahomes to the San Francisco 5, he flipped a go-ahead scoring pass to Damien Williams, who held the ball over the right pylon on the goal line.

The play was reviewed, and officials upheld the original call. Butker’s PAT kick gave the Chiefs a 24-20 at 2:44 of the fourth.

Then, the Chiefs defense held San Francisco on downs with 1:33 remaining, when Frank Clark sacked Garoppolo for an 11-yard loss on fourth down. While running out the clock, KC tacked on an insurance touchdown pass from Mahomes to Williams for 38 yards with 1:12 to play.

An interception by Kansas City’s Bashaud Breeland in the final minute sealed the win.

San Francisco fell short in its bid to win its sixth Super Bowl. The 49ers previously won in the 1982, 1985, 1989, 1990 and 1995 seasons.

San Francisco opened the scoring with a 38-yard Robbie Gould field goal at 7:57 of the first quarter. The Chiefs took their first lead of the game with 31 seconds remaining in the opening period when Mahomes ran in from a yard out, putting Kansas City up 7-3.

After Harrison Butker booted a 31-yard field goal to give KC at 10-3 lead, Garoppolo responded with a game-tying touchdown pass to Kyle Juszcyk at 5:05 of the second quarter. The halftime score was 10-10.

The Chiefs franchise won three American Football League titles and appeared in two of the first four Super Bowls. The ends a 50-year drought.

Shakira and Jennifer Lopez provided the energetic halftime entertainment, emphasizing the musical contributions of the Latina community to the entertainment industry.

Super Bowl LIV/NFL podcast with Joe Hawkes: 49ers should expect Chiefs Mahomes to come out throwing all game long

nfl logo photo: San Francisco 49ers vs. Kansas City Chiefs Super Bowl LIV logo

Super Bowl LIV/NFL podcast with Joe Hawkes:

#1 What is one of the things that you look forward to in watching Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes. He is expected to be throwing all day and he is one of the best being mobile and getting rid of the ball.

#2 In Mahomes last game against the Tennessee Titans he threw for 23 for 35 and 294 yards and three touchdowns

#3 San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was only six for eight 77 yards against the Green Bay Packers last week and still won. Can Garoppolo throw that way again and get away with it.

#4 Mahomes has been lights out all season long and the oddsmakers say this Sunday Mahomes should be no different

#5 J Hawkes takes a look at how this game shakes out and his pick for Super Bowl LIV Joe says he has the 49ers winning this game 35-28.

Joe Hawkes did NFL analysis all season long for http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

Super Bowl LIV/San Francisco 49ers podcast with Joe Lami: Taking a look at quarterbacks Garoppolo and Mahomes for Super Bowl LIV

San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan addresses the press on media day in Miami before Super Bowl LIV (photo by Shawn McCullough Sports Radio Service )

On the Super Bowl LIV/San Francisco 49ers podcast:

#1 San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan was noted to said he spoke to a Navy Seal that told him don’t let the enemy reach the surface for any air and a good example of that was when the 49ers didn’t give an inch to the Green Bay Packers in their last game in their NFC Championship victory 37-20.

#2 There’s a lot of comparisons that the 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo will not get nearly as many completions as Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes on Sunday and that Mahomes can move the pocket or carry in either case.

#3 Patrick Mahomes during media day said that his biggest influence was former teammate and quarterback Alex Smith who took Mahomes under his wing and show him plays and the way around quarterbacking in the NFL

#4 Some critics say that current San Francisco 49er Dee Ford who was with the Chiefs last season was call for lining up in the neutral zone that nullified a interception that some say led to the Chiefs loss. Head coach Andy Reid said it wasn’t Dee’s fault and that it was everybody’s fault the Chiefs were just four inches short

#5 Sad news Hall of Famer and former San Francisco 49er Chris Doleman died at age 58, Doleman a had brain cancer that was similar to former Senator John McCain. Doleman played for the 49ers between 1996-98.

Joe Lami does the 49ers podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

 

San Francisco 49ers report: Six Keys to the Sixth Lombardi

dujour.com photo: NFL Vince Lombardi Trophy

By: Joe Lami

The Niners’ Quest for Six may conclude on Sunday, as the Niners face-off against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV in Miami. It’s only been eight years since San Francisco last competed in America’s biggest game. Yet, it feels like an eternity full of locker room division and incompetence until John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan took the reigns. Since then, they have led the red and gold to one of the biggest turnarounds in NFL history since Bill Walsh did the exact same thing with San Francisco in 1982.

Meanwhile, Kansas City heads into their first Super Bowl in over 50 years, still hunting for Andy Reid’s first-ever Lombardi. Reid enters as the most winningest head coach in NFL history without a Super Bowl ring. San Francisco faces a tall task, but if they’re able to do these six things, they’ll bring home their first title back to the Bay since 1995.

Limit Patrick Mahomes

Limiting Patrick Mahomes is easier said than done. Since the electric second-year-starter took over, Kansas City’s offense has been explosive. The Chiefs have only been held to under 20 points once in that span, earlier this season. There was chatter of the Colts printing the blueprint on how to beat K.C. using man defense, but they were without speedsters Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins that game. However, the Colts were able to sack him a season-high four times.

The secret will come down to the pass rush, and if Saleh’s front four can pressure Mahomes into mistakes that the secondary can take advantage of. San Francisco meanwhile creates the most pressure, sacking the QB 14.3% of the time, when they’re in Cover 1, a man defense. This could bode well if the Colts game wasn’t just a fluke, and Mahomes’ weakness proves to be man coverage.

The Niners ranked second, will be the toughest test Mahomes has faced since week 14 in New England, the NFL’s top-rated defense. In that game against New England, Mahomes completed 65% of his passes for 283 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in a 23-16 victory. It was the Chiefs’ second-lowest point total of the year, and much was thanks to the Pats’ sixth-rated pass-rush, sacking QBs on 8.77% of plays. San Francisco’s sack rate proves to be a better challenge at 9.25%, good for third in the league, while they created pressure on almost 25% of all plays.

Continue to Dominate on the Ground; Own Time of Possession

The Niners blew through the NFC playoffs thanks to a ground and pound game that has old-school football fans salivating at the mouth. The Niners have owned the ground game, averaging 235 yards per game through the first two games. Raheem Mostert carried the red and gold to their seventh Super Bowl with the second-best running performance in playoff history, dashing the Packers for 220 yards and four touchdowns.

Meanwhile, the Chiefs have been averaging 89.5 yards allowed on the ground thus far. Part of the which is their explosive offense scores quick and often on teams, erasing the considerable deficit and forces teams to start airing the ball out. If the Niners can control the ground game, they’ll be able to keep the ball out of the hands out of Patrick Mahomes for as long as possible to avoid a shootout.

No runner this year for San Francisco has owned the workload throughout the season. Expect the running game by committee to continue for Shanahan, with Mostert, Matt Breida, and Tevin Coleman at his disposal. Also, expect Deebo Samuel to turn into a threat from the backfield. Samuel has quickly turned into a go-to threat for the Niners offense, exploding for 43 yards in the win over Green Bay.

Jimmy Garoppolo Balls Out & Protects the Football

Garoppolo has received all the hate this week leading up to the big game for his lack of protection thus far in the playoffs. The national media is trying to create a narrative that completing 17 of 27 passes for 208 yards, a touchdown, and an interception doesn’t warrant him the spot in the Super Bowl. But, the Niners simply haven’t needed Jimmy yet to win.

That could all change on Sunday if the defense isn’t able to maintain K.C.’s explosiveness, and the game turns into a shootout. But we’ve seen Garoppolo ball out in a shootout this season when San Francisco bested New Orleans in a 48-46 thriller. In that game, Garoppolo completed 26 of 35 passes for 349 yards, four touchdowns, and an interception.

That was in the middle of Garoppolo’s red-hot stretch against four of five straight playoff-caliber opponents in which he played the best football of his career. In the five-week stretch, Garoppolo completed 67% of his passes for 1,439 yards, 12 touchdowns, and only four interceptions for a 108.3 passer rating. If Garoppolo can repeat that performance in the most significant start of his career, the Niners’ chances of leaving Miami with the Lombardi will be astronomical.

Jimmy G’s biggest knock is, of course, bad Jimmy’s love of interceptions. While Garoppolo tossed 27 TDs this season, he also threw 13 passes to his opponents. Cutting out the costly pick has been the Faithful’s biggest wish of their young-(ish) gunslinger. Garoppolo has only thrown one pick losses this year, thanks to the outstanding defense stepping up when given the challenge. But this is not something to test against K.C.

Win the Final Play

The Niners have been in every contest they’ve played this year and have found multiple ways to leave victorious, yet have only found one way to lose. That’s come on the last play of the game. It happened in overtime against the Seahawks, it happened on a last-second field goal against the Ravens, and it happened on a failed goal-line stand against the Falcons. The Niners then reversed the curse when they won the division on a goal-line stand, thanks to Dre Greenlaw.

If the Super Bowl comes down to the last play of the game, San Francisco must find a way to win that final play to earn the franchise’s sixth ring.

Super Bowl LIV prediction: 49ers edge Chiefs in thriller behind 49ers MVP Raheem Mostert

photo from mercurynews.com: San Francisco 49iers running back Raheem Mostert celebrates the NFC Championship victory at Levis Stadium on Sun Jan 19th 

By Joe Hawkes
SRS Contributor

Call me a homer if you want, but I truly believe that the San Francisco 49ers will win Super Bowl LIV over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Score? 35-28, 49ers.

Why?

Simple, behind the play of their stud defensive line powered by rookie defensive end Nick Bosa, and their solid running game centered around running back Raheem Mostert. In fact, Mostert is my pick to walk away with the MVP award of the game.

Mostert, who single-handily punched San Francisco’s ticket to Miami, FL after his four-touchdown, 220-yard rushing performance on 29 carries in the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers, has become an overnight sensation and a key piece in the 49ers’ run to Super Bowl LIV. After being cut by six teams before latching on with San Francisco in 2016, Mostert became the first player to rush for at least 200 yards and four touchdowns in a playoff game.

For all the talk that the 49ers’ chances to win their sixth Vince Lombardi Trophy rests on the right arm of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, and possibly so, but Mostert will be the guy that the bulk of the offense will flow through when the ball is kicked off on Sunday at 6:38 p.m. ET (3:38 p.m. PT) from Hard Rock Stadium.

The game will be tightly contested for three quarters as both Garoppolo and Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes will trade touchdown scoring drives heading into the fourth quarter to tie the score at 28-28.

After San Francisco forces Kansas City into a 3-and-out, Mostert will punctuate a 12-play, 75-yard drive with his second touchdown run of the game at the four-minute mark giving the 49ers a 35-28 lead. In turn, San Francisco’s offense will anxiously watch its defense get them across the finish line which its done for most of the 2019 season.

The defense, who has exhibited such a herculean effort in trying to slow down Mahomes and Kansas City’s high-powered offense, the aforementioned Bosa will come up with a crucial sack on fourth down to secure the win.

Mostert, who will finish with a stat line of 22 carries for 120 yards and two touchdowns, will be just the eighth running back named MVP of the Super Bowl joining Larry Csonka (Super Bowl VIII), Franco Harris (Super Bowl IX), John Riggins (Super Bowl XVII), Marcus Allen (Super Bowl XVIII), Ottis Anderson (Super Bowl XXV), Emmitt Smith (Super Bowl XXVIII), and Terrell Davis (XXXII).

Everyone but Anderson is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.