Crosby reveals how 49ers can slow down Mahomes in Super Bowl

Crosby reveals how 49ers can slow down Mahomes in Super Bowl originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

It's not easy stopping Patrick Mahomes -- just ask Maxx Crosby.

The Las Vegas Raiders defensive end faces Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs twice per year in the AFC West. While the Chiefs have gotten the better of the Raiders since Crosby was drafted in 2019 (8-2 head-to-head), Las Vegas does have the most recent bragging rights.

Back on Christmas Day, the Raiders handed the Chiefs their most recent loss, a 20-14 result where Crosby and the Las Vegas defense stymied Mahomes and the Kansas City offense. Crosby had a tackle for loss and two quarterback hits in the game.

Crosby, a three-time Pro Bowl selection, knows exactly what it takes when facing Mahomes. It's not just his ability throwing the ball, but his ability to make plays with his legs, Crosby shared in an exclusive interview with NBCU Local.

"Majority of the time he's not running just to run," Crosby said. "He's running to create time, create opportunities to throw the ball downfield. He's one of the best at doing that, improvising. He's got guys like (Travis) Kelce and the rookie (Rashee Rice), they've got weapons all over the place.

"When you have a great coach like Andy Reid, you got a great quarterback and you got an all-time great tight end, you're going to have great results the majority of the time. So, they're always a challenge every time you see them. Mentally you just have to prepare, like, 'All right, this is what we're doing. We're about to run and we're about to hunt for four quarters.'"

Mahomes widely is praised for his throwing ability, but his rushing skills are an underrated aspect of his game. The two-time Super Bowl MVP has gotten a first-down on 51.1 percent of his career rushing attempts, and that number jumps to 54.3 percent in the playoffs.

So, when the San Francisco 49ers are forming a game plan against Mahomes, Crosby says it's about being connected to your teammates.

"It's really four equals one," Crosby explained. "The four-man rush, or five-man rush or however many you're rushing, you have to be on the same page. You have to be relentless. You cannot stop rushing this dude from start to finish.

"Every time I play (Mahomes) I know what it is. I put my track shoes on because I know I'm about to be chasing his ass from the beginning of the game to the end. If you want to beat him, you need to have everybody on that same type of time and energy. You can't let one play slip by, because if you slack one time he's going to take advantage of it."

Crosby emphasized how important it will be for the 49ers' defensive front of Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Arik Armstead and others to be on the same page.

The 49ers have had trouble limiting Mahomes in past matchups, with the Chiefs winning all three meetings between the two teams, including Super Bowl LIV four years ago.