Chiefs’ L’Jarius Sneed on SB strategy: ‘We just wanted Brock [Purdy] to throw the ball’


The Kansas City Chiefs‘ defensive game plan for the San Francisco 49ers heading into Super Bowl LVIII was pretty simple: stop the run and force the pass. 

L’Jarius Sneed admitted that the Chiefs wanted to force Brock Purdy to make as many plays as possible. 

“Yes, we knew they were gonna try to run the ball,” the standout corner told reporters after the Chiefs’ win. “We knew what they were gonna try to do. We just wanted Brock to throw the ball.”

How much of 49ers SB LVIII loss is on Brock Purdy?

While the Chiefs walked away as champions, they didn’t exactly shut down Purdy. The second-year quarterback completed 23 of 38 passes for 255 yards and a touchdown in defeat, mostly playing mistake-free football as he took just one sack and didn’t commit a turnover behind a leaky offensive line.

Kansas City was able to contain Christian McCaffrey on the ground, however. The 49ers’ star running back rushed for 80 yards on 22 carries (3.6 yards per carry), while tallying a team-high eight receptions for 80 yards and a touchdown. Many of those yards came in overtime, as McCaffrey accounted for 52 of the 66 yards San Francisco gained on its lone drive in the extra frame.

Even though McCaffrey was able to slip through the cracks late, the Chiefs slowed down the rest of the 49ers’ top playmakers for the entirety of Sunday’s game. Deebo Samuel had just three receptions (on 11 targets) for 33 yards, while Brandon Aiyuk posted three catches (on six targets) for 49 yards. Sneed, it’s worth noting, played a key role in limiting both wideouts. George Kittle also only had two receptions for four yards in Sunday’s game.

Despite Sneed’s admission, Steve Spagnuolo made another one that served as a compliment to Purdy. The Chiefs defensive coordinator shared with Monday Morning Quarterback that he adjusted his defense at halftime from playing zone to man because of how well Purdy played in the first half.

“The zones, I just think their wideouts and quarterback are so good at their timing routes, and Brock Purdy is really good,” Spagnuolo reportedly told MMQB. “He knew when we were in certain things, and he found seams.”

The switch mostly worked for the Chiefs. The 49ers went three-and-out on their first three possessions of the second half as Purdy dropped back to pass on eight of San Francisco’s first nine plays. 

Brock Purdy showed he is good, not special, in 49ers’ Super Bowl loss

The 49ers were finally able to break through late in the third quarter and early in the fourth as they went on a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive immediately after falling behind for the first time. But with the score tied late in the fourth, Spagnuolo’s defense successfully applied pressure on Purdy to stall a promising San Francisco drive in the red zone. Cornerback Trent McDuffie successfully blitzed on a third-and-4 play to force a Purdy incompletion, and the Niners to settle for a field goal. 

The Chiefs’ pass rush was also the impetus for a third-down stop in overtime. Defensive tackle Chris Jones went unblocked and hurried Purdy on third-and-4 from the 9, causing an incomplete pass as San Francisco settled for another field goal. 

It was one settle too many for the 49ers. The Chiefs soon marched down the field for the game-winning touchdown, their offense capitalizing off the defense’s huge stands to win the Super Bowl.


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