John Lynch told the story the last time this happened.
When the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs faced off in a Super Bowl just four years ago, the 49ers general manager faced the same concern.
How do you stop Patrick Mahomes?
Lynch thought back to his January 2017 interview with the 49ers, and the exercise that management gave their now-general manager and head coach.
You have 150 points in your salary cap. How are you allocating resources?
Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan performed the exercise separately. And yet … “It’s been communicated to me that [we] were almost directly in sync,” Lynch said. “Maybe they hired us for that reason.”
The synchronicity wasn’t a given: Lynch was a Hall of Fame safety in his playing days, while Shahanan grew up the son of a two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach whose offensive philosophies continue to shape the NFL. But when each thought about offense, Shanahan from the standpoint of what frustrated his schematic potential and Lynch from the standpoint of what enabled his career to thrive, they landed on common ground: Invest “a lot” in the defensive line.
“We talked about quarterback, and then you’ve got to find the guys to knock him down,” Lynch said before the Super Bowl four years ago. “When you’re playing an offense like [the Chiefs], when you’re playing a quarterback like Mahomes, I think it can be the great equalizer.”
To triumph Sunday, the 49ers need it to be.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan, left, and general manager John Lynch are getting their second shot at a Super Bowl title. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)
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San Francisco’s offense has been routinely lethal this season. The 49ers ranked first in offensive DVOA, third in points scored and second in yardage. Their raw regular-season defensive numbers were similarly strong: fourth in defensive DVOA, third in points allowed and eighth in…