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The Evolution of the 49ers-Chiefs Super Bowl Winning Play Call

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How the Chiefs 3x1 formations manipulated the 49ers Cover 6 Buzz defense

The Chiefs “Jet Chip Wasp” play call will go down in infamy. On 3rd and 15, with 7:13 remaining in the 4th quarter, losing 20-10 to the 49ers in Super Bowl 54, Mahomes drifted back and connected with Tyreek Hill. The call against the 49ers’ defensive coverage was unstoppable, and there are a few reasons why the Chiefs dialed it up. Throughout the season, and during the Super Bowl, the 49ers tended to play “Cover 6 Buzz” against 3x1 formations (3 receivers aligned to one side of the field). “Cover 6 Buzz” is a variation of Cover 3 zone, where the weak safety (away from the three receivers) rotates inside, instead of the strong safety rotating inside. The 49ers-Packers NFC championship game is a perfect example; the 49ers constantly rotated their weak safety towards the strength of the offense and created a tendency that the Chiefs would go on to exploit. Patrick Mahomes said after the game in his press conference: “They were playing this kind of robber coverage all game long where the safety was coming down and kind of robbing all our deep cross routes.” This episode breaks down why the Chiefs use 3x1 formations, the problems they create for a defense, why the 49ers favor Cover 6 Buzz in those situations, and why Jet Chip Wasp was successful.

If you have any questions, drop a comment below or reach out to me @AlexRollinsNFL.