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Why Mahomes, Reid ‘respect' Warner, Greenlaw-led 49ers' defense

Why Mahomes, Reid ‘respect' Warner, Greenlaw-led 49ers' defense originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Super Bowl LVIII promises to be an electric matchup between one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses and one of the league’s most suffocating defenses -- something the Kansas City Chiefs are aware of as they prepare for the 49ers.

Speaking to the media during Opening Night in Las Vegas on Monday, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes expressed his admiration of the 49ers defensive front, noting he will have his hands full and it will be crucial for him to get the ball out quickly.

“Yeah, you have to have respect for them; they have a great defensive line and great linebackers, and they do a great job with their rush patterns and rush packages,” Mahomes said. “So, you’ve got to trust in your offensive line that they play a great football game. You have different times when you help out with protection and stuff like that, and then when I get the ball in my hand, I have to get it out of my hand, so that’s definitely the biggest thing.”

Mahomes, who is widely regarded as the best QB in the league, faces a challenge with San Francisco’s defensive line as he seeks another Super Bowl victory. Mahomes and the Chiefs have struggled on offense at certain points during the 2023 NFL season, and they can ill afford to have an off day given how well the 49ers are at creating turnovers and forcing errant throws.

The 49ers were able to force some crucial turnovers in their previous two playoff games to make it to the Super Bowl, so they will be looking for more in this matchup.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid also expressed his admiration and respect for the 49ers' defense, nothing that San Francisco’s linebacker tandem of Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw were particularly impressive.

“They’re really good, I think you know that. That defensive line, that front four is something,” Reid told reporters. “Yeah, they’re two of the most athletic linebackers in the league, so they do a nice job.”

While Reid is known for being one of the NFL’s best offensive minds, the 49ers present a unique challenge given their athleticism and ability to penetrate and attack the quarterback with the likes of defensive end Nick Bosa.

The 49ers' defense has struggled in the playoffs this season, though, so some adjustments will need to be made as Mahomes is significantly better than the previous two quarterbacks San Francisco has faced this postseason.

It was Mahomes who engineered the Chiefs' comeback in Super Bowl LIV over the 49ers as they scored 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to win 31-20.

Now in a Super Bowl rematch, the 49ers' defense will need to be relentless to slow down Mahomes and win San Francisco’s first Super Bowl title since 1995.

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