49ers' flexibility will prove vital in Super Bowl vs. Chiefs

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San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan speaks during a media availability, Thursday, Jan. 30, 2020, in Miami, for the NFL Super Bowl 54 football game against the Kansas City Chiefs. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

MIAMI, Fla. – The San Francisco 49ers have won games almost every way possible this season.

They've won high-scoring shootouts in a dome and ugly low-scoring affairs in the mud. They've won nail biters decided by just inches in the final seconds and lopsided laughers. They've won by pounding the ball on the ground and with big plays through the air.

That flexibility to thrive in all sorts of situations should prove helpful against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday and help the Niners win their record-tying sixth Super Bowl title.

While Kansas City likely needs Patrick Mahomes to deliver an other worldly performance to win, the Niners have the defense that can at least slow the Chiefs down a bit and an offense that can exploit any weakness in an opponent.

But for San Francisco to be successful Sunday, it will start with a defense that allowed the fewest passing yards in 10 years and has been dominant when healthy like the unit is for the Super Bowl.

The team's biggest struggles came when some combination of edge rusher Dee Ford, speedy linebacker Kwon Alexander or safety Jaquiski Tartt was out injured.

That won't be the case Sunday.

The front four led by defensive ends Ford and Nick Bosa, and inside power rushers DeForest Buckner and Arik Armstead have the ability to make Mahomes get rid of the ball quickly and limit the broken plays that the Chiefs thrive on with their star quarterback.