The San Francisco 49ers allowed six sacks against the Seattle Seahawks on Thursday, and as much as I like to blame the offensive line, quarterback Colin Kaepernick is going to take more than this fair share of blame. But I'm not going to write that post just yet, because the 49ers also managed to put up five sacks of their own on defense, and if I don't write something positive about this team I may implode.
It's worth noting the Seahawks might be in the running for worst offensive line in NFL history, and Russell Wilson hasn't been nearly as good as he's been in year's past at avoiding pressure and punishing defenses for being aggressive.
But the 49ers still got sacks against the team in front of them, and that's important. If the 49ers are going to make a turnaround at all in the near future, even if it doesn't happen this season, it's going to have a lot to do with the development of defensive linemen and linebackers. Aaron Lynch is basically the future of this team, and on Thursday, he looked good.
Let's take a look at the five sacks San Francisco put up against the Seahawks.
(4:26 in 2nd Q) 1st and 10 from SEA 33: Russell Wilson sacked at SEA 32 for -1 yard (Ahmad Brooks)
This play is significant because Eli Harold is one of the guys getting the initial pressure on Wilson. Harold has shown some promising things early in his career, and he forces Wilson up in the pocket, where Brooks is able to disengage from his man and secure the sack. Wilson had little chance of actually turning this play into a gain given the other two players he was running into if Brooks happened to miss him. A bad play for the Seahawks altogether, really.
For many of these plays, I also went back and looked at the coaches' film to see how the secondary was doing and honestly, there wasn't much to see. Wilson didn't have a lot of time on most of the 49ers' sacks so I'm not really including coaches' film in this breakdown. I will be using it for other posts later this week, however.
(:43 in 2nd Q) 1st and 10 from SF 30: Russell Wilson sacked at SF 32 for -2 yards (Quinton Dial)
Here's another post where Wilson is forced out of the pocket quickly, this time by Aaron Lynch. Notice the move Lynch puts on that Seahawks player -- he does that same move several times in the game and he beats the guy almost every time. That's why Wilson was so quick to get out of the pocket, he knew Lynch was going to get him.
Unfortunately for Wilson, he runs right into Quinton Dial, one of my favorite players on defense. Dial doesn't get good push to start the play, but he disengages once he notices the pocket collapsing on Wilson from the other side, and he quickly makes the tackle for the sack.
(12:37 in 3rd Q) 2nd and 20 from SEA 36: Russell Wilson sacked at SEA 30 for -6 yards (Aaron Lynch)
Michael Wilhoite actually puts a good move on his man this play. Of course, it's not the most graceful spin by any stretch of imagination, but Wilson knows the pressure is coming. Lynch is too fast for him though, and gets around on that same move against his offensive lineman and finally brings Wilson down for his first sack of the day.
This is also the play in which Wilson's knees didn't actually touch the ground and he got up trying to run after the play but I think it's a bit silly that any Seahawks fan was upset about the play. Everybody had stopped playing, progress was stopped by the referees, that's not really why the rule exists. It's a sack.
(10:52 in 4th Q) 2nd and 8 from SF 24: Russell Wilson sacked at SF 29 for -5 yards (Aaron Lynch)
Weird, here's Lynch making minimal contact with his offensive lineman and beating him around the outside! It's almost like I've seen this before, multiple times in this game ... well that's because I did. Wilson knows the pressure is coming on this play but he has no idea it's coming from Lynch. He thinks the other guy on his right is getting to him and he thinks he has some time to get away.
Not when Lynch is coming up right behind you. You'll notice the receivers are generally well-covered on this play, which was a nice change.
(5:44 in 4th Q) 3rd and 10 from SEA 45: Russell Wilson sacked at SEA 36 for -9 yards (Ahmad Brooks)
Not much went right for the Seahawks on this play. It was late in the game, the 49ers desperately needed a stop, and the defense came through with one. NaVorro Bowman looks good on this play, and basically everybody else gets through to Wilson. He has nowhere to go with the football and nowhere to run, even though he tries briefly at the end. He eventually just goes down, and of all the players who got to him, Brooks is credited with the sack.
So that's a pair of sacks for Brooks and Lynch, and I personally had Lynch putting pressure on the quarterback several times in the game. A pretty solid outing for a 49ers defense that needs a whole lot more of them, I think.