The NFL announced their various player of the week awards on Wednesday, and Seattle Seahawks defensive lineman Michael Bennett was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He had 3.5 sacks and five tackles, which helped the Seahawks limit the San Francisco 49ers to 142 total yards, and just eight first downs (and nine punts). It was a worthy performance.
It also happens to be part of a not so pretty trend. The 49ers have lost five games this season, and in four of them, an opposing player has earned a player of the week award. In Week 2, Ben Roethlisberger earned offensive honors, completing 21 of 27 passes for 369 yards and three touchdowns. In Week 3, Tyrann Mathieu had two interceptions, returning one for a touchdown. In Week 5, Eli Manning completely 41 of 54 passes for 441 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception. He threw the game-winning touchdown in the closing minute of the game. The 49ers only loss without an opponent getting player of the week honors was against the Green Bay Packers in Week 4. The 49ers defense actually held the Packers offense to a limited effort, and the 49ers offense struggles were less about the Packers defense and more about the 49ers problems.
And now, the 49ers travel to face the St. Louis Rams in Week 8. The Rams are 3-3, and have a couple areas where they could earn additional player of the week honors. Rookie running back Todd Gurley is off to a strong start to his career, with games of 146, 159 and 128 yards the last three weeks. On the other side of the ball, Aaron Donald could absolutely decimate the 49ers offensive line. Robert Quinn is doing good work as well, but Donald is the one that I fear the most.
I do think the 49ers could sneak out a win in this one. Jeff Fisher's Rams have found ways to blow winnable games in his tenure, and Nick Foles is pretty inconsistent. I am concerned about facing that defense, but Fisher and Foles could give the 49ers a chance!