Chiefs vs. 49ers how the chiefs defense beats san francisco – arrowhead pride

A blockbuster trade brought quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco last year, and the 49ers paid him handsomely this offseason. Garoppolo is an accurate quarterback with a quick release that has grasped head coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense well, putting up good numbers at the tail end of last year. While he hasn’t started with quite the same output this year, he’s very capable of putting up points and yards in a hurry against good defenses.

After losing running back Jerick McKinnon to a torn ACL, the 49ers have relied on veteran Alfred Morris and second-year back (NFL rushing leader after Week 2) Matt Breida to lead the way. Morris offers a more “grinding” style of running, especially between the tackles, while Breida has been a change of pace back and pass catcher thus far this season.


Breida, in particular, was able to find success last week against the Detroit Lions, showcasing his speed.

At wide receiver, San Francisco is led by speedster Marquise Goodwin and route runner Pierre Garcon on the outside. Rookie Dante Pettis has showcased some big-play ability this year as well, averaging 32 yards per reception thus far in the 2018 season. All three players have the capability to break a game open and run away from the secondary when defenses are forced into bigger personnel.

At tight end, the 49ers have a steady presence in Garrett Celek, a good blocker and pass catcher, but arguably the most dynamic weapon on the offense is second-year player George Kittle. We’ll address Kittle below, but the offense does a good job getting him into space where he can use his speed and athleticism to rack up major yardage against linebackers and safeties.

The San Francisco offensive line is still trying to gel this season after adding rookie right tackle Mike McGlinchey opposite stalwart left tackle Joe Staley. The interior of Weston Richburgh, Laken Tomlinson, and Mike Person is a decent group, but definitely a better matchup for the Chiefs than the previous two week’s interior OL. How to defend 21 personnel

One of the advantages of the Niners 21 personnel is forcing heavy boxes and space in the secondary. Here, the FB motions in and both the TE and FB stay in to protect. It’s a three man route, but the slot WR sells the Post and cuts back for the out underneath the 9 route. pic.twitter.com/wfx41QI8Xs— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) September 20, 2018

Finally, the 49ers like to take advantage of bigger personnel on the field to stress the safeties and get open looks in the secondary. By lining up in 21 personnel, the defense is in their base personnel with a safety in the box opposite the tight end. This leaves three members of the secondary in coverage to the field, and San Francisco takes advantage of it.

The outside receiver runs a 9-route, clearing out the boundary corner. The slot receiver shows a post route, and the single high safety has to carry that post route in his Cover 1 responsibilities. However, after the safety commits, the slot receiver cuts back and runs an out route. With the cornerback in trail coverage, there are all kinds of space for Garoppolo to make the throw.

With the Chiefs likely shifting into their base 3-4 defense against 21 personnel, we’re likely to see lots of linebackers Reggie Ragland, Dee Ford, and Justin Houston in coverage to help try to stifle the 49ers passing attack. It’s not the ideal option from a pass rush standpoint, but that extra defender in coverage could help keep the San Francisco tight end, fullback, and running back in check, forcing third-and-longs. George Kittle

This one isn’t a blitz for the Lions, but it’s a well disguised rush. DET shows a 5 man rush, and the B gap linebackers are both going to drop into coverage off the snap to rush 3. The strong B LB engages the RG, drops, then waits for the OL to adjust, and then rushes the B gap. pic.twitter.com/ZxyUsvl43m— Craig Stout (@barleyhop) September 21, 2018

The defense doesn’t have to send extra rushers to disrupt the San Francisco passing game. On this play, the Lions show a five-man rush, and the weak-side linebacker drops off to cover the running back. The strong-side linebacker engages the right guard and appears to drop into coverage. The right guard turns to find work and help the right tackle, and the linebacker shoots the B-gap, unblocked for a sack.

Simply by showing on tape a willingness to rush 3 (something the Chiefs have done with much frequency this year), the opposition was able to employ this tactic to bring an exotic rush by playing on their prior tendencies. Coupled with some overload blitzes, the Chiefs could employ an extra element outside of their normal rush tendencies this year to get home against an inferior line from the first two weeks. The bottom line