The 49ers headed into the offseason knowing that they needed to upgrade their lackluster pass rush if they wanted to be competitive team. They signed free agent Dee Ford and drafted Nick Bosa with the #2 pick. In their 1st game as 49ers, they each recorded a sack and hit Jameis Winston a combined 5 times. That upgraded pass rush helped the defense force 3 intercepetions, one more than they had all of last season.
The defense looked close to breaking a few times during Sunday’s game, but they continued to make just enough plays. On one possession inside the 49ers 10 yard line, the field goal unit jumped in the neutral zone on the Bucs field goal attempt and the Bucs decided to go for it on 4th down at the 2 yard line. Tavarius Moore made a great play to break up a pass on OJ Howard to hold the lead. On the offensive possession, the 49ers couldn’t get out of their own end zone after some penalties that gave the Bucs the ball back on SF’s 41 yard line after the 49ers’ punt. The Bucs had chunk plays to get back inside the 10, but again the defense held strong with Arik Armstead’s sack of Winston on 3rd down to force a field goal to maintain their lead.
After recording just 15 takeaways last season, the defense forced 4 against the Bucs. Two of Winston’s passes were returned for touchdowns. Fred Warner forced a huge fumble after the Bucs were inside the 49ers’ 10 yard line. It was an overall great day for the defense considering the humidity they had to deal with. Now they move on to Cincinnati to face Andy Dalton, who hung 418 yards and 20 points on the Seahawks in Seattle. If the defense can continue getting to the quarterback, it could make all the difference to their season.
Power rankings (ESPN)
Impressive 49ers (Martin)
Newest power ranking (NFL video)
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The good and bad of Week 1 (Cohn)
Thanking the defense (Chan)
49ers win and drop 2 spots (Madson)
Week 2 betting lines (Madson)
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Who’s trending after the 1st week (Hanzus)