Thankfully, Nick Bosa doesn't have to look too far when it comes to preparing for the challenges of Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Los Angeles Chargers defensive end (and big brother) Joey Bosa, who regularly faces the AFC foe, will be one of his most reliable resources heading into Super Bowl LIV.
"We're going to be talking," Nick Bosa said on Thursday. "He has pretty good input on these guys. He's going to give me everything that he could give me and it's up to me to go use it."
Joey has faced Mahomes three times over the last two seasons and registered five quarterback hits and six total tackles despite a 1-2 record. In his four seasons with the Chargers, Joey has amassed 21 tackles, two sacks and seven quarterback hits against Kansas City.
The success of Mahomes and the Chiefs fifth-ranked passing offense is in large part due to the play of their pass-blocking unit, headlined by tackles Mitchell Schwartz and Eric Fisher. Schwartz has managed to keep Mahomes' pocket clean. Over his eight-year NFL career, the right tackle has allowed the third fewest sacks in the NFL (25). It's also worth noting his reliability. Since entering the league in 2012, Schwartz has never missed a game.
San Francisco's pass rush has unquestionably benefited the 49ers No. 1 ranked pass defense. The 49ers have allowed just 169.2 yards per game this season. The elder Bosa's Chargers run a similar Cover 3 scheme as the 49ers and own the fifth-ranked passing defense. In their two meetings against the Chiefs in 2019, Mahomes was limited to an average of 178 yards passing while being held to two touchdowns and two interceptions.
"We're back playing a mobile quarterback and one who could throw better than any we've faced," Bosa said. "One of the biggest things is trying to keep him in the pocket and not let him escape when he wants to escape and make him uncomfortable."
Bosa and the 49ers revamped pass rush, that also includes former Chiefs defensive end Dee Ford, ranked fifth in the NFL with 48 sacks and seventh in the league with 306 total quarterback pressures during the regular season. The 49ers pass rush collectively won 55.7% of its pass-rush assignments, second only to the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to Pro Football Focus.
Bosa alone registered 47 tackles, 9.0 sacks, 25 quarterback hits, two passes defended, one interception and a forced fumble during his regular season rookie campaign. So far through the postseason, he's notched three sacks, seven quarterback pressures and eight tackles in two playoff games.
Kansas City's quarterback has thrown for over 615 yards and eight touchdowns in this season's two playoff matchups against the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans, respectively. San Francisco has been challenged this season with several slippery quarterbacks who can extend drives, including Russell Wilson, Kyler Murray and Lamar Jackson. The team will have to rush individually in their one-on-one matchups while simultaneously rushing collectively as a unit to have any chance at containing Mahomes, who is likely to be the 49ers toughest test yet.
"The speed (the Chiefs) bring to be able to run with a guy like Mahomes," defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said. "When you have edge rushers, it speeds up the process of the quarterback, and, not that he needs speeding up, he already gets rid of it pretty quick. But, it changes the game. It unlocks the offensive line so it creates a little bit more space and it gives the guys inside more space to operate. So, having (Bosa and Ford) out there, having them at full speed, will do nothing but help."