This season, I’ll be breaking down a lot of San Francisco 49ers things in GIF form. A lot of those things will be bad, and will probably focus on Blaine Gabbert (or other 49ers quarterbacks) doing bad things because the subtle nuances of the quarterback position are always important to highlight.
Gabbert was far from perfect against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 1, but he was good enough that I don’t feel obligated to spend much time on his faults this week. But one thing I like doing is breaking down the sacks from each game, usually the sacks allowed by the 49ers since I’m something of an offensive line specialist (in my own, conceited words).
But the 49ers, despite the offensive line being kind of a wreck last season and throughout this offseason, didn’t allow a sack and Gabbert was kept upright for the game. So instead, we’re going to break down the two sacks the 49ers got on Case Keenum and shocker: they were both made possible by Ahmad Brooks.
One trend I’ve noticed here at Niners Nation, and this could be the case for many fanbases, is the tendency to write-off veterans well before they should be. Much of that probably comes from the fact that Bill Walsh wanted to dump a guy before it was too late, but it’s still a bit of a surprise.
This offseason, the majority talked as though Brooks and Antoine Bethea should be gone, out of excitement for the younger guys. But both players have plenty to offer still. Let’s break down the sacks.
7:30 of 1st Quarter, 3-8 from LA 11: Case Keenum sacked at LA 5 for -6 yards (Ahmad Brooks)
This play doesn’t look from the onset that it’s supposed to have Arik Armstead cutting outside to take on the tackle and Brooks cutting inside like a classic shunt, but it works. It looks to me like Armstead and Brooks both think that Brooks is going to be chipped.
But he isn’t, and Armstead does an effective job of forcing two guys to deal with him and Brooks, like the veteran he is, turns inside. He knows he has leverage on the guy backpedaling, so he gives him one good shove right into Keenum and brings him down for the sack.
DeForest Buckner and Eli Harold were both dealing with two players apiece due to the four-man rush.
0:35 of 2nd Quarter, 3-15 from LA 34: Case Keenum sacked at LA 30 for -4 yards (Arik Armstead)
Once again, it’s a four man rush that seems Armstead and Brooks dealing with two of the five offensive linemen. Armstead gets good push on his guy after his initial spin move fails, and Brooks gets around the tackle without much issue.
That forces Keenum, who maybe strayed too far to his right on his dropback, to abandon the "pocket." But the guys on his left have spread to such an extent that Keenum has to cut inside. Armstead recognizes this and gives his guy a good shove, disengages and brings Keenum down for the sack.
The important thing in both sacks is that they came in a four-man rush and that both Brooks and Armstead showed a great ability to disengage with their blockers at the perfect times.