It’s here, folks. Super Bowl LIV is just days away as the culmination of the 2019 NFL season draws ever closer.
It feels like just yesterday we were getting ready to watch the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers kick off the season, and a big piece of me wishes we were, so six long NFL-less months weren’t so close on the horizon.
However, the final game of the season does promise to be a great one as the 13-3 San Francisco 49ers are seeking their sixth Super Bowl in seven attempts, and the 11-5 Kansas City Chiefs are seeking Lombardi number two in their first appearance since Super Bowl IV.
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Predicting this game is tough as both teams can make very good arguments as to why they’ll hoist the Lombardi trophy on Sunday night, so we’re leaving it to the best NFL simulation possible: Madden 20.
Through the Playoffs, Madden has a 6-4 record. It went 1-3 in the Wild Card, 4-0 in the Divisional and 1-1 in the Championship having chosen the Green Bay Packers to dominate the 49ers.
So, can the game go 1-0 this week?
The first quarter was fairly uneventful but could have been a lot better for the Chiefs.
On their opening drive the San Francisco 49ers marched down the field with ease. Jimmy Garoppolo completed every pass he attempted and the 49ers chewed up half of the quarter before Jimmy G found Emmanuel Sanders for the opening touchdown of the game.
The Chiefs followed it up with a three and out as they could never overcome a sack and nine yard loss on their first play from scrimmage.
After getting the ball back from the Chiefs punt, the 49ers went on another long, meticulous drive. A mixture of success on the ground, including a 10+ yard run from Tevin Coleman, and big conversions through the air, the 49ers found themselves back in the red zone just 12-yards from pay dirt.
Enter Deebo Samuel, who took a screen pass, which went down as a rushing attempt, 12-yards for a touchdown to increase the 49ers’ lead to 14 points.
The quarter only got worse for the Chiefs after that. On their ensuing possession it was Armstead who came up with the big play again, as he sacked Mahomes for the second time, this time causing a fumble which Dee Ford scooped up and returned for a 22-yard score.
That wouldn’t be the end of the Chiefs’ woes in the second quarter, though, as on their next two possessions both ended with a Richard Sherman interception, the second of which was a spectacular one-handed grab to effectively end the first half.
The Chiefs’ did grab an interception of their own, Charvarious Ward picked Jimmy G off in the endzone to prevent the score slipping to 28-0 – in doing so giving Garoppolo his first incompletion – but it ultimately meant little having been sandwiched by Sherman’s interceptions.
Coming out of halftime the Chiefs desperately needed a score to reduce the 21-0 deficit. They did, after all, overcome a 24-0 deficit in one quarter against the Houston Texans in the AFC Divisional round.
However, that score didn’t come as Mahomes was once again under too much pressure and the ground game wasn’t at all effective.
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Though the Chiefs would not turn the ball over again, Mahomes was sacked two more times, including another by Armstead to give him three on the day, and they failed to score a single point.
The only positive for the Chiefs was that they stopped the 49ers from scoring any points either, keeping the score at 21-0 heading into the final quarter of the season.
Going into the final quarter of NFL football for six months, the Chiefs needed an all-time performance. A performance to match that of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI against the Falcons.
First, though, they had to stop the 49ers offense who had had their way with the Chiefs defense until this point.
That would prove to be the case again, as the ‘9ers once again marched down the field with relative ease, until Tevin Coleman strolled into the endzone, untouched, from 21-yards out.
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That score would was another nail in the coffin of a game which was already virtually over.
Looking for a consolation, the Chiefs would have their first attempt at points come in the form of a 60+ yard field goal late in the fourth quarter, but that inevitably fell way short.
Before the game was over the 49ers managed to tack on a field goal to make the score 31-0 and put the cherry on top of their sixth Super Bowl title, and first since 1995.
Final Score: 49ers 31 – 0 Chiefs
You can count me incredibly surprised if this score comes to be. It would be the sixth largest winning margin in Super Bowl history and the first ever shutout. It would also be the first time in Mahomes’ NFL career his team failed to score 13 points.
Nevertheless, we have seen this defense completely dominate the Aaron Rodgers-led Packers twice and the high-powered Minnesota Vikings very recently.
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While this isn’t the shootout or nail-biter many expect, it would certainly be an incredible story to end the 2019 NFL season. Will Madden be correct?