The San Francisco 49ers were able to put the Buccaneers away 31-17 on Sunday after forcing four turnovers. It had to feel good for general manager John Lynch to see early returns on some of his recent acquisitions Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. Those were far from the only two that made plays, as we’ve highlighted. There were also plenty of players that made an impact during the game that deserves so much more credit than they received. Here are a few players in contention for the unsung hero of Week 1.
The 49ers defense had to do some shuffling around once Kwon Alexander was ejected, and that meant more playing time for Nzeocha, who was opportunistic. A ball went through O.J. Howard’s hands, and Nzeocha broke on the pass, and the ball fell in his hands. He only managed 16 snaps on defense, but Nzeocha filled in admirably.
Nzeocha is here because he was responsible for driving a Buccaneer back into the punter and getting a piece of the ball. A blocked punt to start the season is how you set the tone, especially after a season where you rarely started in opponent’s territory.
Mostert had to step in once Tevin Coleman went down, and the 49ers offense didn’t miss a beat. Mostert ran for 40 yards on nine carries and forced five missed tackles. He had a touchdown called back, and if not for that, he probably would have been listed as a stud.
If Mostert is the unsung hero this week, it will probably be the last time we list him on here if Coleman is out for an extended period. He was effective, and all but closed the game out for the 49ers.
Tampa Bay has the ball on the 49ers 11-yard line, and it’s 1st & 10. DeForest Buckner makes a tackle for loss, and now it’s 3rd & 5 after a five-yard gain by the Bucs on first down. Tampa Bay had been converting their third downs at a high rate up until this point. I believe they were 5-8. Armstead comes up with a pivotal sack on third down, and Tampa Bay settles for a field goal. Going from a 20-17 score, as opposed to 21-20 and you’re trailing takes a lot of pressure off the offense.
That’s just one play, but I had Armstead down for five wins, three stops, and another tackle for loss. He may not have been noticed like the edge rushers, but Armstead was a big reason for the team’s success Sunday.
Who was the unsung hero
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