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Super Bowl LIV Preview: San Francisco 49ers

The Super Bowl LIV takes place on Sunday as either the Kansas City Chiefs or the San Francisco 49ers look to dethrone the New England Patriots as this year’s winner of the prestigious trophy.

The San Francisco 49ers are looking to claim a sixth overall Super Bowl Championship and a first since Super Bowl XXIX in 1994. A win on Sunday will also see the 49ers tie the Patriots and Steelers for the most Super Bowl trophies in the NFL. They will be participating in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2012.

The NFC champion San Francisco 49ers are also looking to become the second NFL team to win the Super Bowl after finishing with fewer than five victories in the previous season when they clash with the AFC champions Kansas City Chiefs this Sunday. The 49ers finished the 2018 season with a 4-12 record and are the third team to advance to the Super Bowl after recording four or fewer victories a year earlier, joining the 1988 Cincinnati Bengals and 1999 St. Louis Rams. Here is a review of the San Francisco 49ers’ season and an inside look at the team’s overall performance ahead of the game on Sunday.

Regular Season in Review

The San Francisco 49ers headed into the regular season on a positive note after claiming victories over Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs and only losing to the Los Angeles Chargers in their four preseason matches.

They immediately put the NFL on notice after winning all of their first eight games of the season, handing them an early season 8-0 record. The 49ers recorded eight straight wins for the first time since 1990 and, in the process, became the second consecutive NFC West team after the Los Angeles Rams to begin a season with an 8-0 record. The eight wins also surpassed the total number of wins they recorded from 2016, 2017, and 2018 season combined.

Five victories came on the road with the other three coming at home. The consecutive wins came against Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cincinnati Bengals, Pittsburgh Steelers, Cleveland Browns, Los Angeles Rams, Washington Wizards, Carolina Panthers, and Arizona Cardinals. However, the winning run came to an end after losing 27-24 in overtime at home to the Seattle Seahawks. They recovered from the setback to record consecutive wins over Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers before losing to the Baltimore Ravens. A further loss against Atlanta Falcons ensured the 49ers ended the season with one defeat in the four games at the end of the regular season. The 49ers also booked themselves a playoff berth for the first time since 2013 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons after the Los Angeles Rams also lost their game in Match week 15. Their week 11 victory against the Cardinals also guaranteed the 49ers their first NFC West Division winning season since 2013 with a 13-3 record, which was their best finish since 2011. The regular season was also by far their best season in a long time.

The regular season also saw claim first victories over the Cardinals since 2014, Seattle Seahawks since 2011, and Carolina Panthers since 2001.

Postseason

Regular-season success guaranteed the 49ers a playoff berth and a home game against the Minnesota Vikings in the Divisional Round, which they won 27-10 to set up a Conference Championship tie with the Green Bay Packers. They claimed a 37-20 win over the Packers to set up this weekend’s showdown with the Chiefs.

In all, the 49ers have recorded 64 points in their two postseason games, averaging 32.0 points per game. They have also recorded seven touchdowns.  49ers are also yet to allow a running play of more than 11 yards in both of their postseason games.

Regular Season Statistics

The 49ers’ offense finished second in the league in scoring (479 points, most for the 49ers since 1998) and second-best in rushing yards per game (144 yards per game). The 49ers were also first in terms of rushing touchdowns with 23 and third in point differential with +169. The 49ers’ defense was also impressive as they ranked sixth for forced turnovers (27), second in total defense with 281.8 yards per game, first in passing defense with 169.2 yards per game, and fourth-best in sacks (48). These impressive numbers guaranteed the 49ers a place in the top 10 in both scoring and yards per game category for the first time since 2003.

Players to Watch

The 49ers will be relying on several individuals who have been standout performers all season, including running back Raheem Mostert and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. Running Back Mostert was impressive in their NFC Championship match against the Green Bay Packers as he ran for 220 yards and recorded four touchdowns in the game. Mostert is currently ranked as number one in rushing offense with 235.5 yards for the 49ers in the postseason. He also ended the regular season in second with an average of 144.1 yards and will have a lot of pressure hanging on his shoulders to deliver with fellow running back Tevin Coleman reportedly a doubt for the game with an injury he suffered against the Packers. Coleman has also been influential this season, having finished third in the team with 544 yards in the regular season. He also runs for 105 and recorded two touchdowns against Vikings in the divisional round.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo also leads the team’s chart for the highest passing yards with 208, averaging 103.5 yards per game and 7.7 yards per pass attempt in both postseason matches. He also has 30 long passes, one touchdown, and three sacks.

Excellent performances from these influential players could seal a win against a team they beat in the preseason.

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