WR Jalen Hurd - San Francisco 49ers

6-5, 228Born: 1-24-1996College: BaylorDrafted: Round 3, pick 2019

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Week 21: at Kansas City Chiefs

All WR vs KC

FBG says: Tough matchup. The 49ers' ideal passing attack - low-volume and low-impact - has been on full display this postseason. Jimmy Garoppolo got past the Vikings and Packers dropping back just 30 times and completing 17 total passes. On the regular season, the 49ers as a team threw the league's fourth-fewest passes a game and a good-not-great 28 touchdowns. They were efficient, though, ranking fourth league-wide in net yards per attempt. Without much of a downfield component - they lack a true deep threat, while Garoppolo has long struggled with his long ball - this unit relies heavily upon its playmakers to weave magic on short and intermediate routes. Leading the way is full-fledged superstar George Kittle, who may be facing his tight end equal (Travis Kelce) on Sunday. Kittle has been quiet this postseason, spending most of his time blocking, but averaged 75 yards a game on a whopping 28% target share during the season. Garoppolo has also seen success, if only sporadically, when throwing to Emmanuel Sanders and dynamic rookie Deebo Samuel. Sanders can still win downfield, but hasn't caught more than 3 balls in a game since Week 14. Shanahan manufactures 4-7 weekly touches for the explosive Samuel, and he's responded nicely. But if all goes to plan for the 49ers, they'll control the Super Bowl on the ground and supplement with just a few well-timed splash plays from their receivers. The much-maligned Kansas City pass defense took a dramatic turn for the better midway through the 2019 season. Dating back to Week 9, they've allowed just 6.3 yards per attempt and 239 a game, with only 3 opponents (aided by garbage time) topping 225. The Texans' trio of DeAndre Hopkins, Will Fuller and Kenny Stills found success in the Divisional Round, but that had all the looks of a true outlier. Houston spent much of that game in desperation mode, and the Kansas City defense allowed just 46 passes of 20+ yards this season, eighth-best in football. Outside cornerbacks Charvarius Ward and Bashaud Breeland are volatile in coverage, but both possess shutdown ability against downfield wideouts. Against the 49ers, though, the biggest burden will be on their slot unit as they seek to keep the likes of George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, and Emmanuel Sanders from making plays underneath. Slot cornerback Kendall Fuller had an up-and-down season, but has traditionally been strong inside, while safety hybrid Tyrann Mathieu has excelled as an on-ball playmaker (16 pass breakups and 4 interceptions). It's not a bulletproof unit, and they allowed a handful of big games to slot men and tight ends down the 2019 stretch. But often, opponents are pushed into shootouts early on, and the swarming pass rush forces a number of errant and ill-advised throws. As a result, this is no longer an easy group to throw on, even when the game is blown wide open. Kyle Shanahan and Jimmy Garoppolo will need to get creative to make big plays happen Sunday.

Latest News

49ers | Jalen Hurd on the mend (Thu Feb 13, 10:54 PM) - San Francisco 49ers WR Jalen Hurd's (back) back injury is healed, and he is expected to be ready for the start of the offseason program in April.

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