Super Bowl 58: Inside Trent McDuffie's lockdown outing in win over 49ers

2WHYCTW Las Vegas, United States. 11th Feb, 2024. San Francisco 49ers' Deebo Samuel (19) can't get to a pass as Kansas City Chiefs' Trent McDuffie (22) defends in the first half of Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Photo by Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group/TNS/Sipa USA) Credit: Sipa US/Alamy Live News

Second-year cornerback Trent McDuffie may have put together one of the best coverage performances in Super Bowl history as the Kansas City Chiefs took down the San Francisco 49ers in overtime.

He heavily contributed to 49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel‘s quiet night. Samuel led San Francisco with 11 targets but finished with only three receptions for 33 yards and no touchdowns.

McDuffie, largely in charge of limiting Samuel, was the most targeted Chiefs defensive back, with seven passes going his way. His outing became one of 54 instances of defenders being targeted at least five times in a Super Bowl over the past eight seasons, and the 53 players before McDuffie all allowed at least 16 receiving yards in the big game. McDuffie let up nine yards.

The second-year cornerback was responsible for two completions allowed to quarterback Brock Purdy in Super Bowl 58 and, in the process, forced three incompletions, including a textbook pass breakup in the endzone when he ran stride for stride with Samuel before turning back to locate the ball and bat it down. McDuffie's 4.5 receiving yards surrendered per catch is the lowest mark by the 54 players who have been targeted at least five times in a Super Bowl since 2016.

In addition, the first-team All-Pro allowed a 39.6 passer rating — identical to a quarterback throwing the ball into the dirt on every pass attempt. Finally, McDuffie became the second defender in the past eight Super Bowls to face at least five targets without giving up a first down or touchdown.

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Nevertheless, coverage was not the only facet McDuffie excelled in during Super Bowl 58. After he recorded the second-most pass-rushing snaps among cornerbacks in the regular season and led the position with 16 quarterback pressures and three sacks, his blitzes were projected to be potent against San Francisco’s condensed formations, which allow defenses to better disguise where the blitz is coming from.

Yet, McDuffie did not blitz once during the first 58 minutes of Super Bowl 58.

His first pass-rushing snap came on a play that could have very well decided the Super Bowl in favor of the 49ers. San Francisco faced a third-and-5 from the Chiefs' 35-yard line with two minutes to go while Kansas City had only two timeouts remaining. If San Francisco picked up a first down and then milked the clock, it would have made Kansas City’s task to save the game to overtime almost impossible.

McDuffie did not show his hand until the very last second, went through the San Francisco offensive line unblocked and batted down Brock Purdy’s pass to stop the clock and, more importantly, force the 49ers to kick a field goal. This left enough time for the Chiefs' offense to march down the field and tie the game before the end of regulation. The rest is history.

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Expectations were high for Kansas City’s former first-round pick in the Super Bowl, and McDuffie delivered. He not only shut down San Francisco’s wide receivers at a historic level, but he also made a game-defining play down the stretch as a pass rusher.


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