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By the Numbers: 49ers' myriad weapons powered dominant season en route to Super Bowl

Christian McCaffrey San Francisco 49ers Christian McCaffrey - The Canadian Press

The San Francisco 49ers will try to claim the franchise's first Super Bowl title since 1995 when they take on the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11.

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If this team feels different from those that reached the big game in 2013 and 2020, it's because its offensive firepower sets it apart.

The History

The 49ers franchise is tied with the Dallas Cowboys for second most Super Bowl titles in the NFL with five, trailing the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots who have six each.

Each of their five titles came between the 1981 and 1994 seasons, when they employed Hall-of-Fame quarterbacks Joe Montana and Steve Young, all-time NFL receiving yards, catches and touchdowns leader Jerry Rice and multi-time Pro Bowlers in running back Roger Craig and wide receiver Dwight Clark. 

In their two Super Bowl losses since, they rostered exactly one AP First-Team All-Pro player on each offence, and a combined five Pro Bowlers on the two squads.

The wealth of offensive options on this year's 49ers squad leaves opposing defences with a lot of potential threats to solve: the 2023 49ers offence finished with four AP First-Team All-Pro nods and five Pro Bowlers. 

Offensive accolades by 49ers Super Bowl squad

Season Super Bowl result First-Team All-Pro nods Pro Bowl nods Points scored rank in NFL Yardage rank in NFL
2019  Lost 
2012  Lost  11  11 
1994  Won 
1989  Won  1
1988  Won 
1984  Won 
1981  Won  13 

The Weapons

For the 49ers offence, it all starts with quarterback Brock Purdy.

The 24-year-old earned the title of 'Mr. Irrelevant' when he was selected with the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 draft. Injuries to opening-day starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo opened the door for the unassuming rookie to lead the 49ers on an unexpected run to the NFC Championship game a year ago. 

Purdy won his first seven starts until an elbow injury knocked him out of their 31-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and necessitated off-season surgery to correct. 

He returned from surgery to finish an MVP finalist this season, totaling 4,280 passing yards and 31 touchdowns, and setting a single-season NFL record with 9.6 yards per passing attempt. 

Purdy is joined by fellow MVP finalist Christian McCaffrey, who is in his second season with the 49ers after he was acquired via trade from the Carolina Panthers a season ago. 

McCaffrey led the NFL in rushing yards (1,459), scrimmage yards (2,023) and total touchdowns (21), all while missing the final game of the season. McCaffrey has four touchdowns and 260 yards from scrimmage in their two playoff wins this year. 

Wide receivers Brandon Aiyuk and Deebo Samuel each accounted for more than 1,000 yards from scrimmage this season, and Aiyuk finished seventh in the NFL in receiving yards (1,342) despite finishing 31st in catches with 75.  

Finally, tight end George Kittle, who earned his fifth Pro Bowl nod and second First-Team All-Pro this season, finished with 1,020 receiving yards and six touchdown on 60 catches. 

The 49ers are just the sixth team in NFL history to finish a season with four players to total over 1,000 scrimmage yards in the same season. The most recent team to do so was the Carolina Panthers in 2020.

Teams with four players over 1,000 scrimmage yards

Team Season Record Season finish Scoring rank
San Francisco 49ers  2023  12-5 
Carolina Panthers  2020  5-11  Missed playoffs  24 
Indianapolis Colts  2004  12-4  Lost Divisional Round 
Atlanta Falcons  1995  9-7  Lost Wild-Card Round  11 
Houston Oilers  1990  9-7  Lost Wild-Card Round 
Washington  1989  10-6  Missed playoffs 

The Matchup

The 49ers have a record of 7-3 against teams that qualified for the playoffs this season. A meaningless loss to the division-rival Los Angeles Rams in the final week of the season and a pair of dreadful performances in the rain against the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens were the only missteps on an otherwise sparkling resume.

Their opponent in the Super Bowl is led by Patrick Mahomes, but it's Kansas City's defence leading the way this season after finishing second in points and yards allowed. 

The 49ers played five games against teams in the top 10 in points allowed this season and won four of them. They averaged 28.4 points per game in those matchups, where those five teams allowed a collective average of 18.6 points per game across their seasons. 

Perhaps the more important battle will be Mahomes and the Chiefs offence against the 49ers defence, which finished third in points allowed. In 11 games since their bye week, the Chiefs have scored more than 20 points only five times.

They scored 17 points in their win over the Ravens in the AFC Championship game. 

In Super Bowl history, teams in the top five in points scored have won 32 titles, while teams in the top five in points allowed have won 30. Seventeen winners have finished in the top five in both.   

Outside of the Los Angeles Rams in 2022, every Super Bowl winner since the Patriots in 2016 has finished in the top five in points scored, while the 2017 Philadelphia Eagles were the most recent Super Bowl winner to finish in the top five in points allowed.