Fun NextGen Stats – Super Bowl edition

By Rhys Knott

Suoer Bowl LVIII sure was a slow burner. There wasn’t much to get excited about in the first half unless you’re a big Harrison Butker fan (guilty). But by the end of the nerve shredding overtime there were some fun NextGen stats. And here they are for your perusal.

NextGen Fastest Ball Carries

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Mecole Hardman must love playing against the 49ers. Before Sunday’s game he had scored 3 touchdowns on 6 touches in the single regular season game he had played against them! But he didn’t have such a successful time the last time KC met San Francisco in a Super Bowl though. He mainly returned kicks in 2020. Hardman wound up with 58 yards on 3 returns and just 2 yards on his 1 catch in that game. He also had a single rushing attempt, but that went for –6 yards! 

This week he 3 catches for 57 yards and a touchdown. And his 52-yard reception saw the fastest ball carry of Super Bowl LVIII as Hardman hit 19.92 mph. 

Surprisingly for all his haters Travis Kelce is second on the list. He clocked in at 19.68 mph on a 22-yard reception. Not bad for a 34-year-old. And it’s all the more impressive when you know he’s 250 lbs., that’s 47 lbs. heavier than Rashee Rice! 

And Rice had the third fastest carry of the game. He travelled at 19.37 mph as he caught a pass that went for 13 yards.  

Finally, there’s a 49er on the list. And in news that shocks nobody at all its Christian McCaffrey. CMC hit 19.33 mph on his 21-yard touchdown reception. 

McCaffrey is back (he’s also at 6 in the fastest carries list too), he carried the ball at 18.35 mph on an 8-yard rush. The next fastest 49er? That was Brock Purdy, you wouldn’t have bet on that, would you? That might be something the 49ers address in the offseason. Or it could be the Chiefs defense was too disciplined to allow Samuel and Kittle to be factors. 

NextGen Remarkable Rushes

Christian McCaffrey had the most remarkable rush of the regular season with his 72-yard carry in Week 14 that should have gone for just 3. But not this week. 

The most remarkable rush of the Super Bowl belongs to Patrick Mahomes, as does the second most remarkable rush. There’s clutch and then there’s Mahomes. His most remarkable carry was his 19-yard carry with 2 minutes left in overtime. That one should have only gone for 6 yards according to the NextGen algorithm. 

His second entry in the chart came on what was technically an option play. But it appeared Mahomes was always keeping the ball. The Chiefs used the 49ers aggressiveness against them. He faked the handoff to Clyde Edwards-Helaire (who got absolutely creamed by Nick Bosa) and exploited the space that was left. Mahomes ran for 22 yards on that play when it was expected to go for 14. Although if Bosa hadn’t bought the play-fake it could have been a negative play. 

Christian McCaffrey had the third remarkable rush of Super Bowl LVIII. Early in the 1st quarter he carried the ball 11 yards and that was 6 yards over expected.  

Isiah Pacheco had 18 carries on Sunday and 2 of them round out the top 5. His first entry equaled McCaffrey’s for the third most remarkable rush of the game. Pacheco carried the ball 10 yards when it was expected to go for just 4 yards. 

And Pacheco’s second entry in the top 5 went for 8 yards when it was expected to go for 4. He actually went 4 yards over expected twice. The second time was on a 9-yard carry that was only expected to go 5 yards. 

NextGen Fastest Sacks

This week this category is actually just “NextGen Sacks”, because there were only 5. And, relatively speaking they were not fast. 

The fastest sack was made by Chase Young. He got to Mahomes in 4.7 seconds. What happened to getting rid of the ball in 3 seconds, eh? In fairness to Young he beat Donovan Smith like a drum. And Nick Allegretti looked like he was expecting an extra rusher as he ended up starting to double-team Javon Hargrave. But he just ended up turning round to see his quarterback getting squished. 

Arik Armstead had the second fastest sack of the game. He reached Mahomes on what was a very broken play. Armstead’s sack took 4.71 seconds. He ended up jumping on Mahomes’ back after the quarterback had faked a jump pass into the endzone. Armstead had nearly given up on the play. But when he realized Mahomes still had the ball his eyes lit up. 

Justin Reid is third on the list, just to prove the Chiefs were rushing the passer too. Reid’s sack came as the pocket collapsed and Brock Purdy tried to run for a first down. It definitely has to go down as a coverage sack. It took 6.67 seconds. And if Purdy hadn’t tried to run around the safety, he could have at least made it back to the line of scrimmage. 

George Karlaftis was in on that play too, so he is, technically, also third on the list. 

Javon Hargrave made the fourth sack of the game. So, he finishes up the top 5. His took 7.55 seconds though. That’s definitely not fast. But kudos to the 49ers pass coverage in the endzone. Hargrave had to work his tail off to chase Mahomes across the field. 

Longest Plays

Bonus stats are always fun and there’s a great one this week. Unsurprisingly the longest play of the day was Hardman’s 52-yard reception when he actually ran 64.1 yards. But the best stat by far is actually the third longest play of the game.  

Brock Purdy’s 9 yard that ended when he was on the receiving end of a Nick Bolton horse collar tackle. To gain those 9 yards (plus 15 penalty yards) Purdy ran 45.6 yards! Christian McCaffrey only ran 46.6 yards on his 21-yard touchdown reception. 



Rhys has been watching the NFL for 30 something years and still hasn’t managed to pick a team to support. When he’s not fixatED on pass rushers you can find him blithering on about most sports on Twitter @wrhys_writes