MIAMI — Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs shut down Derrick Henry. The same Derrick Henry who ran for 182 yards against the New England Patriots and 195 yards against the Baltimore Ravens in back-to-back playoff games. He’s the only player in NFL history to accomplish that feat (the next-closest are Le’Veon Bell and Terrell Davis, who both ran for at least 167 yards in back-to-back playoff games).
But former 49ers quarterback Jeff Garcia, who joined the Murph and Mac show on Wednesday in Miami, said there are fundamental differences between the 49ers’ prolific run game and the Chiefs.
The 49ers followed the Titans as the 10th team in NFL history to rush for more than 186 yards in back-to-back playoff games. No team before the 49ers and Titans had accomplished that feat since the Super Bowl-winning and Eric Dickerson-led Los Angeles Raiders in 1984.
What’s the difference? The style of each team’s run games:
“This is the thing, people are going to say, ‘Well Kansas City stopped the Titans’ run game.’ That’s a different run game,” Garcia said. “That’s a power-minded come downhill right at you. The 49ers run the ball differently than how the Titans run the football. Bring that eighth guy in the box. That’s fine. We’re going to leave a couple guys unblocked on the backside anyways, we don’t need to block all eight.
But here’s the other thing. Now we have one on one matchups outside, opportunities that we like to expose them from a passing standpoint.
They don’t have to run the football predominantly to win this football game. They’re going to do what they do, the Niners are going to do what they do, but they’re also smart enough to know that, hey, we realize they’re going to bring extra people in the box, we’re going to exploit that opportunity. We’re going to attack them down the field. We’re going to get our big tight end, Kittle involved.
We’re going to get these little guys, Deebo Samuels is not little, but we’re going to get Emmanuel Sanders. We’re going to get Deebo, we’re going to get them active. We’re going to take advantage of them trying to stop the run and exploit it.”
Click below to hear Garcia’s full interview on the Murph and Mac Show.