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49ers DC: Chiefs look like the Olympic relay team

The old saying "speed kills" has been proven true in the 2019 playoffs, with the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs blasting past every competitor with ease.

The Chiefs (13.36 MPH) and the 49ers (13.35 MPH) ball carriers have averaged the two fastest max speeds on offensive plays this season (NFL average: 12.97 MPH), per Next Gen Stats.

How each team gets to those figures, however, is vastly different.

For the Niners, it's the running backs who lead the way, with Raheem Mostert, Matt Brieda and Tevin Coleman accounting for four of the top six-max speeds reached by a 49ers ball-carrier this season (only Deebo Samuel punctured the group).

Meanwhile, K.C. sports a trio of WRs that streaks past defenders in Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Mecole Hardman. Chiefs players account for five of the top 15 speeds reached by a receiver as a ball carrier this season (no other team has more than one), per NGS.

"Very explosive," San Francisco defensive coordinator Robert Saleh said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. "Mahomes has gotten better. They're at every position -- it almost looks like they got their roster from the Olympic relay team and threw them all on the field. Not to say that they can't run routes or can't catch either, because they can do that.

"They are a special group and you can see why they are there."

Patrick Mahomes' willingness to take deep shots at any moment, utilizes that speed on the outside better than any other team. The Chiefs can divebomb defenses, wiping out any deficit in the blink of an eye.

Saleh knows the challenge his defense faces in Super Bowl LIV against offensive speed his team hasn't seen yet.

"They're the fastest team by far," he said. "To try to compare it to another team would not do them justice, to be honest with you. But, anytime you have speed like that, it naturally will stress the defense."

Add in tight end Travis Kelce winning matchups over the middle, and you can see why combating Andy Reid's offense is a nightmare for defensive coordinators.

The Niners DC knows he must get pressure on Mahomes to disrupt the 49ers' offense and give his secondary some help.

"When you have edge rushers, it speeds up the process of the quarterback," Saleh said. "And, not that he needs speeding up, he already gets rid of it pretty quick. But, it changes the game. Like I talked about last week, it unlocks the offensive line so it creates a little bit more space and it gives the guys inside more space to operate. So, having those guys out there, having them at full speed, will do nothing but help."

The 49ers enter the Super Bowl knowing they probably won't completely stuff the Chiefs' offense all game, but if they can minimize the speed advantage for stretches, San Francisco gives itself a better chance of hoisting the Lombardi Trophy on Feb. 2.

Super Bowl LIV details

When is the Super Bowl? Super Bowl LIV between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers will take place on Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020, at 6:30 p.m. EST.

Where is the Super Bowl? Hard Rock Stadium will host the game in 2020, marking Miami's 11th time as Super Bowl host city.

*How to watch the Super Bowl: Tune in on Fox, with the NFL App, Yahoo Sports App, and on NFL.com. Check out more updates and info here. *

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