Throughout the past few seasons, I've taken a look at the sacks allowed by the San Francisco 49ers on a week-to-week basis. This time around, I'm going to be taking a look at sacks allowed and the sacks the 49ers defense managed to put up as well. It's no secret that I don't have much faith in San Francisco's offensive line, and it's also no secret that line played exceptionally well for most of Monday's season opener against the Minnesota Vikings.
As such, the Vikings were only credited with a single sack, for a loss of 0 yards, and it's a play I won't be breaking down because it wasn't really a sack, just Colin Kaepernick being unable to find his open man and running out of bounds.
San Francisco's defense, on the other hand, brought down Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater a total of five times. Sometimes this was because they put huge pressure and overwhelmed him. Other times, the 49ers' secondary performed well enough to give the pass rush time. This is despite Bridgewater typically being fairly decent in the pocket and hard to tackle once he gets out of it.
These plays are mostly straightforward so we're not going to do a whole lot of analysis on each, but we'll take a look at what happened below. I do want to add one note: if there are any of these you want to see the All-22 coaches' film to see what's happening in the secondary, let me know and when that's available, maybe I'll include those in the Golden Nuggets or on my Twitter later in the week.
This was the first sack of the game and I don't think it needs much explanation! Safety Jaquiski Tartt was brought in for a reason, and I was incredibly excited when the 49ers drafted him. He's great with stuff like this, and he's great doing a lot of linebacker-like stuff. He's kind of like what Taylor Mays was supposed to be, since he's been in the news lately.
The 49ers blitz two safeties on this play and the Vikings can do absolutely nothing about it. Look at where Eric Reid is on the play -- the 49ers are doing different things, and they're doing them very early. It's a good sign for Eric Mangini's defense.
Aaron Lynch wants this sack so, so badly but he doesn't get it. He mauls his offensive linemen, tosses him out of the way, almost gets a hand on Bridgewater and then Tank Carradine wraps up the sack. That was perhaps a second or two away from that being a terrible, awful play for the 49ers but they got it done and, as you'll notice, this was also on a third down, as was the first.
I bet NaVorro Bowman really, really wants a sack as the play is starting, but he knows his job is to occupy that left tackle, which he does, leaving Antoine Bethea free to run and sack Bridgewater on the delayed blitz. Another real positive of this game, for me, was that Bethea looked good in all aspects. I don't even think the pass interference that wasn't called was a bad play by any means -- Mike Wallace swung his own arm back into Bethea's and yeah, while that's still a pass interference, I think Bethea played it as well as he could have.
Look at all those 49ers players going after Bridgewater on that play. Look at them. It's a swarm, and any one of them could have come up with the sack. It just so happens that this time it was NaVorro Bowman. Aaron Lynch was the first guy to beat his man and that's what really messed up the play for Minnesota. Lynch causes the havoc and everything else crumbles around him.
Remember the play earlier in which Lynch almost had Bridgewater but didn't quite make it? This looked like that was going to happen. Lynch seems like a player whose hands and arms are going faster than the rest of him sometimes. He'll destroy a guy and then he'll realize "hey, I just destroyed that guy and I don't really know what to do next" and then the quarterback is gone. But here, he got to Bridgewater and brought him down on a crucial 4th down play late in the game.