Professional Sports

SPORTS DIGEST: Super Bowl should be high scoring, entertaining

Get ready for a high-scoring, entertaining Super Bowl.

The Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers will play in Miami Feb. 2 in Super Bowl LIV. It will be the first time these two teams have met in the Super Bowl.

The Chiefs played in two of the first four Super Bowls (they are 1-1) and haven’t been back since. The 49ers are one of the great Super Bowl teams of all times with five wins and only one loss. The one loss came in their last appearance in 2013, when 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh lost to his brother John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens, 34-31. 

The Chiefs opened as a slight (one-point) favorite, which I found perplexing for a couple of reasons. In the playoffs, the 49ers have played better defense than the Chiefs. In both their playoff wins, the Chiefs fell behind by double digits early.

Then quarterback Patrick Mahomes got rolling and once he’s rolling, he’s hard to stop, as the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans both learned.

But after watching the 49ers stifle Aaron Rogers and the Green Bay Packers for much of the day Jan. 19, I’m not sure the Chiefs will be able to survive a double-digit deficit to the 49ers.

The Niners let the Packers back in the game after they jumped off to an early lead because they took the air out of the football and let their running game eat up yards and time on the clock.

I had never heard of Raheem Mostert before the game with the Packers, but the back-up running back from Purdue University had a near-record-breaking performance, gaining 220 yards in 29 carries and scoring four touchdowns to lead the 49ers after starting running back Tevin Colemen injured his shoulder in the second quarter.

Mostert signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent in 2014 after playing at Purdue. He was cut by the Eagles before the start of the 2015 season and bounced around from Cleveland to Miami to Baltimore to the New York jets and finally to the Chicago Bears before joining the 49ers late in the 2016 season. He’s been there ever since, playing mostly on special teams.

Prior to this season, he had appeared in 34 NFL games and gained 303 yards total.

But he became the 49ers second best running back this year and gained 772 yards and scored eight touchdowns during the season.

With Mostert running wild, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo didn’t have to do much against the Packers. He threw the ball only eight times, completing six passes for 77 yards. Expect more than eight passes in the first quarter against the Chiefs.

The Chiefs don’t move the ball that well on the ground. Their leading ball carrier this season, Damien Williams, gained only 498 yards all season. LeSean McCoy, who missed the game against the Titans, had 465.

The Chiefs offense revolves around their third-year star Mahomes. After throwing 50 touchdown passes last season, Mahomes dropped off to 26 this year, but he reduced his interceptions from 12 to five. 

Despite missing two games after dislocating his knee early in the season, he threw for 4,031 yards and had a quarterback rating of 105.3.

His favorite target is tight end Travis Kelce, who caught 97 passes this year. Tyreek Hill and Sammy Watkins are speedy deep threats who caught 58 and 52 passes, respectively, this year.

For the Chiefs, safety Tyrann Mathieu is the soul of their defense. He led the team in interceptions with four and solo tackles with 63. Defensive tackle Chris Jones had nine sacks and defensive end Frank Clark had eight and linebackers Anthony Hitchens and Damien Wilson were the top two overall tacklers on the team.

The 49ers defense is led by defensive end Nick Boza and veteran cornerback Richard Sherman, who has Super Bowl experience from his days with the Seattle Seahawks. Sherman will probably get to keep track of Tyreek Hill on Super Bowl Sunday.

The Chiefs offensive line will try to keep Boza and defensive tackle Arik Armstead in place.

It shapes up as a potentially great Super Bowl. The Chiefs are 12-4 and the 49ers are 13-3.

We now have 10 more days of hype to get through before they actually play the game.

BOSTON MASSACRE?: Ignore the debacle you might have watched Jan. 20 between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. With Anthony Davis back in the starting lineup, the Lakers jumped off to an 8-0 lead.

And then the Celtics woke up. They outscored the Lakers the rest of the way, 139-99, winning 139-107. You can bet that both teams will remember the result  should they face in the playoffs for the NBA Championship in June, but the game was otherwise meaningless, one of 82 on the schedule.

Davis scored only nine points in 23 minutes in his return after missing five games with a bruised tailbone.

LeBron James had 13 assists but he only scored 15 points.

Center JaVale McGee led the Lakers with 18 points.

Boston had three players with more than 20 points, led by Jayson Tatum with 27 and Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown, who each scored 20.

The two teams play again Feb. 23 at Staples Center. Don’t expect a 32-point win by the Celtics in that game.

SORE LOSERS: It’s nice to know that there are no real problems in the city of Los Angeles.

I know that because the Los Angeles City Council, 15 of the busiest people in Los Angeles took time out of their busy schedules Jan. 21 to approve a resolution asking the commissioner of Major League Baseball to award the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles to the Los Angeles Dodgers because the Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox cheated.

“This isn’t being done for publicity,” said Councilman Paul Koretz, one of the two councilmen who prepared the resolution. “This is being done in outrage for how our team was cheated.”

I’m outraged that with nearly 60,000 people living on the streets most nights, with it taking 30 minutes to drive through downtown during most times of the day and all the city’s other problems, that Koretz and his colleague, Gil Cedillo, wasted their time writing the resolution and the rest of the council member wasted their time by voting for it.

As I wrote last week, the Dodgers had their chance to win the 2017 World Series and failed to execute after falling behind 5-1 in the first two innings. The Astros scheme of stealing pitches only worked at their home stadium where the players had access to a center-field camera feed.

As for the 2018 series, the Dodgers were stomped four games to one by the Boston Red Sox.

There are no do-overs in professional sports and that’s the way it should stay.

GYMNASTICS, ANYONE? The Culver City-based Los Angeles School of Gymnastics will host its annual LA Lights Tournament of Champions Event at Veterans Memorial Building, 4117 Overland Ave., Jan. 25 and 26.

The event showcases rhythmic gymnastics at its highest levels, bringing together some of the most elite female athletes from across the globe. LA Lights 2020 kicks off the rhythmic gymnastics season, as athletes prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics.

For more information about LA Lights 2020, contact Tanya Berenson at (310) 204-1980 or at tanya@lagymnastics.com. Or visit the website at https://lalightsmeet.com/.