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49ers vs. Chiefs: Kansas City defense among the best in the league in 3rd and long situations

The San Francisco 49ers have struggled in high-pressure situations. The Kansas City Chiefs are pretty good at putting teams in them.

Thearon W. Henderson

The San Francisco 49ers haven't performed particularly well in high-pressure situations, especially on offense. The offensive line and Colin Kaepernick have struggled in big moments, typically at the end of games. We've seen the worst play from Joe Staley, Mike Iupati, Daniel Kilgore, Alex Boone and Jonathan Martin in the fourth quarter, with the most sacks on potential game-winning drives.

It's very frustrating, and it's also a big concern against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The Chiefs, as it turns out, have been solid in those high-pressure situations. They're just the kind of team that comes up big when the opposing offense is desperately needs to make a play. Take third downs for instance -- there's a very informative Tweet from Chiefs beat man BJ Kissel:

Of course, the 49ers find themselves in a lot of third-and-long situations. Needless to say, the 49ers need to perform better on that down or more accurately, need to ensure they don't get to that point. There's too many wasted plays on first and second down.

Justin Houston and Tamba Hali are among the top outside linebackers in the league, and they will do everything they can to hound Kaepernick and force him into making bad decisions on third down. I guess at some point I'm expecting this offensive line, which isn't so different from last year's, to bounce back and stop playing so poorly, but if that doesn't happen, the Chiefs may eat this offense alive.

I'd guess the best course of action would be to lean heavily on the no-huddle again. Anything they can do to stop the Chiefs from getting into a rhythm and try and get the most out of first and second downs, really. This game will probably be won or lost on third down and if it's a long situation, I don't like the 49ers' chances.