5 Players to Watch in Super Bowl 54
The NFL has entered a new era. A league dominated by Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for the better part of the past two decades is taking a turn.
For the first time in 16 years the AFC team competing in this year's Super Bowl will not be named Tom Brady, Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning, or Joe Flacco.
As we prepare for this exciting matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, here are five names to watch
Raheem Mostert, RB, 49ers
Who would have thought that a player who was cut by six teams in the first five years of his career, and started this season as the 49ers fourth string running back would be the key factor in the NFC Championship game? Well Mostert has managed to do just that.
After rushing for 220 yards and four touchdowns against the Packers, he has proven that he can be a starting running back on a Super Bowl caliber team.
His performance in the NFC Championship was no fluke either. Mostert ran for 772 yards and eight touchdowns on the season while serving primarily as a backup/third option.
The 49ers running game has been unmatched this season as they average 144.4 rush yards per game, which is second in the NFL to only the Baltimore Ravens, which broke the record for most single-season rushing yards in NFL history.
Patrick Mahomes, QB, Chiefs
In 2018 Mahomes, the league MVP, and the Chiefs lost to the Patriots in overtime in the AFC Championship. This year, they came back with vengeance.
Mahomes started the first four games very strong before struggling in a few games and then getting injured. In the three games leading up to injury and the one after, the Chiefs were 1-3 and looked like a shell of the team they were last year.
All doubts were silenced though after the Chiefs won their last six regular season games, including a win over the Patriots, and secured the first-round bye as a two seed. Mahomes is hot and that is a very dangerous sight for the rest of the NFL.
Arik Armstead, DL, 49ers
When you think of the transformation of the 49ers defense, you probably think of Nick Bosa. Bosa has had a great season, but Armstead has quietly been one of the biggest parts of the 49ers defense.
With 54 Tackles, 10 sacks, and two forced fumbles, he has been an absolute force and the Chiefs are going to have to find a way to stop him.
The Chiefs offensive line has allowed the third fewest sacks this season, but this 49ers' pass rush lead by Armstead is the best they have had to face all season.
K’Waun Williams, CB/NB, 49ers
There might not be a better nickelback in the entire NFL than Williams. Wide recievers have averaged only 2.5 receptions and 21 yards per game against him.
In back to back weeks, he was matched up against Jarvis Landry and Juju Smith-Schuster, two of the NFL’s better recievers. Between those two they were targeted three times and combined for a total of 0 receptions.
The undrafted no-name turned star will have all eyes on him as he will be primarily lining up against superstar receiver Tyreek Hill. Williams has been stepping up all year and he needs to now more than ever on the biggest stage.
Mitchell Schwartz, T, Chiefs
Schwartz is one of the league's best tackles and has been a huge part of the Chiefs offense since being traded by the Browns in 2016.
This season Schwartz was penalized only four times while not allowing a single sack. These stats are great, but the reason he is a player to watch is due to the pass rush he is going to have to slow down come Super Bowl Sunday.
Bosa, Armstead, Dee Ford and DeForest Buckner make up one of the NFL’s best pass rushes and Schwartz is going to have to line up against one of these guys every single play. Stopping the 49ers' pass rush is going to be crucial to winning the Super Bowl.
Caleb Schweiger is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.