The San Francisco 49ers managed to sack Eli Manning of the New York Giants three times in their win and, crucially, didn’t allow any sacks of C.J. Beathard. The pass rush has struggled at times this year, helped along by injuries to guys like Aaron Lynch, Tank Carradine, Arik Armstead and more.
But the 49ers have had decent production from other sources. Elvis Dumervil is having a competent season as a longtime veteran, while Leger Douzable has been a surprisingly effective pass rusher despite being essentially unknown. On Sunday, it was Ronald Blair who found the quarterback multiple times, and he looked good doing it.
Fortunately, we have no sacks allowed to break down. Beathard has taken a beating since he took over the starting job, but was rarely hit against the Giants. Below, we’re going to take a look at the three sacks earned while Beathard takes a much-needed break from these breakdowns.
10:12 of 2nd Quarter, 2nd and 4 from SF 22: Manning sacked at SF 29 for -7 yards (Ronald Blair), FUMBLES, recovered by Eric Reid at SF 15
This one is pretty simple as far as what went wrong for the Giants is concerned: Blair carved right through right tackle Justin Pugh, making it around the outside and right into Manning, who probably tried to throw the ball, but still definitely fumbled. His arm seems to hit Blair’s helmet, which could account for the forward movement. The other three players the 49ers rushed were blocked effectively.
Manning does have one of his receivers open over the top on the left side, with another receiver pulling the safety away. You can see a linebacker running over there quickly because he realizes there is a hole that Manning can exploit. There is also an open underneath option, but Manning doesn’t see his deep man in time, and the underneath is taken away when Manning is brought down.
7:20 of 3rd Quarter, 1st and 10 from NYG 43: Manning sacked at NYG 37 for -6 yards (Elvis Dumervil)
Here is Dumervil doing what Dumervil has been doing for years: beating his man and sacking the quarterback. In this case, it’s not Pugh, but his replacement, Bobby Hart. Dumervil first gets his hands in there to try and strip the ball, but failing that, he pulls Manning down (with some late assistance from Deforest Buckner, who beat two offensive linemen on his way to Manning.
All of Manning’s options are deep except for the fullback who doesn’t actually get out there to catch a pass until Manning has been hit by Dumervil. None of the receivers are open or close to open at the time that Manning completes his dropback. There might have been something over the middle, but it would have been a tough throw.
2:02 of 4th Quarter, 1st and 10 from NYG 46: Manning sacked at NYG 39 for -7 yards (Blair)
Just like the first play, Blair simply beats his man off the line. This is Hart, who never had a chance of stopping Blair, really. He got beaten bad, and was slow to get up. Buckner caused some mess on the other side, but ultimately was blocked well. This one was all Blair.
The 49ers played all of these routes fairly well. The underneath option isn’t particularly dangerous, and the curl in the middle is covered very well by the close coverage. There is a small opening in the zone on the left side, but Manning is already being hit by the time that opening occurs, so it’s arguable that it wouldn’t have been open if the 49ers hadn’t started to slow down as a result of Manning being hit.