Negating the Run Game
As the 49ers appeared to edge out the Kansas Chiefs throughout the bulk of the game, it was the run game that the Chiefs clung to to keep them in contention. Namely, Damien Williams, who ended the night with 104 yards on 17 carries, including the 38-yard dagger.
However, had it been the Saints’ defensive line that Williams had been up against, there’s no way Williams would have had the same sort of success. The Saints’ run defense ranked 4th in the league at 93 yards-per-game allowed.
Such a stout run game also means that Patrick Mahomes would have likely been more contained, forcing him to throw with a greater frequency, against an arguably stronger secondary than what he faced with the 49ers.
Had the Saints been able to shut down the run early, it could’ve widened the scoring gap later on, eliminating any need for a comeback.