A year after setting the mark for fastest player in the NFL, San Francisco 49ers running back Matt Breida achieved the accolade again in 2019.
With the regular season now complete, and the Niners looking to open up their first postseason campaign since 2014, Breida ended up finishing the year as the league’s fastest player. According to NextGen Stats, Breida reached a top speed of 22.3 miles per hour, which eclipsed Chicago Bears wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson by the slimmest of margins, seven one-hundredths of a second.
Breida wasn’t shy about the accolade, either:
The mark came back in Week 5 on Monday Night Football against the Cleveland Browns, as Breida managed an 83-yard scamper for a touchdown:
Yeah, that’s pretty fast.
Breida also set the same mark back in 2018, too, ripping off a 33-yard rush in Week 12 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reaching a speed of 22.09 miles per hour.
So, as one can easily point out, Breida ended up getting a little faster over the course of the year.
Interestingly enough, however, Breida’s total numbers on the season were down. While his 5.1 yards-per-carry average were just two-tenths lower than the mark he set in 2018, the 49ers elected to use him much less frequently, giving him 123 carries in 2019, compared to the 153 rushes he had the year before.
A good explanation, though, is the emergence of fellow running back Raheem Mostert, who went from perennial special teams ace to leading San Francisco’s offense with 772 rush yards and eight touchdowns on the ground.
Mostert never cracked the top 20 of fastest ball carriers in 2019, although one has to point out he was set track and field records during his collegiate time at Purdue.
Oh, and head coach Kyle Shanahan loves speed. Both Breida and Mostert provide that.
And to think… both players were undrafted free agents.