The San Francisco 49ers defense has shown improvement this season, and one big key has been rookie linebacker Reuben Foster. After missing most of the first two months of the season with a high ankle sprain, he has emerged as an absolute presence in the 49ers defense the past six weeks.
Foster was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Month for November, and he has continued to excel in December. This past Sunday against the Houston Texans, he led the team with 11 combined tackles and had three stops.
Foster is going to pile up huge tackle totals, but the video above shows a play that does not show up in the stat sheet for him. We see him go to attack the running back, but right tackle Breno Giacomini comes across the line to cut him off. Giacomini is unable to entirely contain Foster. Giacomini is pushed back just enough that Andre Ellington loses his hole, bounces off Giacomini, and falls to the ground for a short loss. If Giacomini makes that block, Ellington simply needs to hope over tight end MyCole Pruitt, and he has a pretty sizable hole to the left.
Giacomini deserves some blame for not making the play, but even if Foster was not intending to push back Giacomini, it’s a big part of this play.
On a side note, I really need a lot more Brian Baldinger video in my life!