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49ers vs. Bills breakdown: The frustrating pursuit of sacking Tyrod Taylor

The 49ers managed to sack Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor. Those sacks, unfortunately, led to a loss of zero yards.

Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor is a very good quarterback. He looks a lot like the player the San Francisco 49ers wanted Colin Kaepernick to be. On Sunday, he was more than effective against the 49ers, completing 17 of 26 passes for 179 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

The 49ers did manage to sack Taylor three times, which normally would be great, but Taylor was frustratingly good at limiting the damage of those sacks. True, the 49ers were at least able to prevent a positive play, but on all three sacks, Taylor was able to get himself back to the line of scrimmage.

Honestly — the 49ers have three sacks, and the Bills lost a combined zero yards on those sacks. They also allowed Taylor to rush for 68 yards on eight quarterback carries.

Taylor is one of the more elusive quarterbacks in the league. We’ll have a breakdown of the sacks the Bills earned on Kaepernick later on, but for now we’re going to take a look at the maddening frustration that is trying to sack Tyrod Taylor.

2:07 in 1st Quarter: 2nd and 5 from SF 12 - Taylor sacked at SF 12 for 0 yards (Arik Armstead)

The play is a designed rollout, and the Bills effectively cut off three 49ers players on the left side. More than that, a couple 49ers players bite on the coverage and trail to the left even though there really isn’t much of a threat there. It looks like a screen, of course, but they should know better when it comes to Taylor.

Naturally, the first player misses — this will become a theme — and its Ahmad Brooks who whiffs. Ultimately, Arik Armstead puts himself in a good enough position to bring Taylor down, but they don’t manage to force the Bills into a third-and-long situation.

0:47 in 2nd Quarter: 1st and 10 from SF 24 - Taylor sacked at SF 24 for 0 yards (DeForest Buckner)

Brooks does one good thing and two bad things on this play. The good thing: he gets the initial pressure that causes Taylor to go into evasive mode. Nobody else managed to get good push on the Buffalo offensive line, but Brooks is right there.

The bad thing: he misses Taylor. The second bad thing: he completely stops chasing Taylor. This is another sign that Brooks is getting up there in years. The effort and the motor just aren’t there like they used to be.

And keep in mind, this is still a close game at that point. But Brooks slows to a trot and watches other players make the play — in this case DeForest Bucker — instead. Now you can claim that Brooks had faith in his teammates, but he himself just experienced how elusive Taylor can be. Taylor could easily have avoided Buckner and went for a big gain.

10:42 in 3rd Quarter: 2nd and 7 from BUF 46 - Taylor sacked at BUF 46 for 0 yards (DeForest Buckner)

Quinton Dial pulls a great move on his guy and gets the initial pressure, but ultimately the guard throws him to the ground while he’s getting past him. I take issue with that personally. Brooks also gets some pressure, but his spin move is woefully inadequate off the snap.

Then credit the linebacker for recognizing that Taylor is going to run it. He comes flying in from the left side ... and promptly misses Taylor. It was a pretty sad attempt at a tackle and it sure does make me miss NaVorro Bowman. It was nearly comical at this point. Buckner cleans up the play for the sack ... which barely qualifies as a sack.