An article that could fly under the radar, but really should not, comes from 49ers.com. Apparently, the o-line has won an award - the "Top Protectors" award based upon their efforts against the Saints. I want to cull a few facts from the article.
The award is selected by John Madden. This is, in fact, the second time the team has won the award, matching only the New York Giants this season, with the previous award after the Buffalo Bills game. Both games were no-sack games. And, the article points toward ESPN's Mike Sando, who points out that all five linemen rank within the top five of the fan voting for the Pro Bowl. Not too shabby, eh?
As our own Aaron Malone intelligently points out, this no-sack game might have something to do with Colin Kaepernick's ability to move around quickly. This undoubtedly has some truth to it.
That said, our o-line this year has been phenomenal. Alex Boone in the right guard spot has been such a revelation for the line - especially on the right side. Now that Anthony Davis doesn't have to compensate for a Chilo or a Snyder, he looks much better in pass protection. In fact, the major weakness of this o-line has been pass protection, at least in the past Guys like Mike Iupati are so good at run blocking. There's nothing like seeing him pull to the right side and running headlong into a linebacker. What a sight indeed.
But, it always seemed like the pass protection was lagging behind this awesome run blocking. With how much talent there is on this line, just some pass protection would make it great. Now that it is pass protecting at a high(er) level, this line is beginning to look elite. Is there room for improvement? Of course. But, it is still worth recognizing the improvement along the line. I'm happy to be able to point out awards this line wins. They deserve the limelight every once in a while.