The San Francisco 49ers came up just short against the Kansas City Chiefs in last year’s Super Bowl. The Niners held a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter but couldn’t put Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs away.
One of the big reasons San Francisco was seven minutes away from a championship was the defense’s play. The unit kept the high-flying Kansas City offense in check for most of the game.
Pro Football Focus highlighted memorable performances from the last 10 Super Bowls and singled out defensive lineman Nick Bosa for his play in last year’s Big Game.
Although the 49ers ultimately fell to the Chiefs, Bosa still recorded one of the most dominant defensive outings we have ever seen. The rookie lived in the Chiefs’ backfield, generating a whopping 12 QB pressures — most in a Super Bowl — that included one QB hit and one sack. Here’s hoping the 49ers star returns better than ever next season.
It’s a shame the refs missed this blatant holding penalty by Eric Fisher on Bosa during the massive third-and-15 play that kept the Chiefs alive.
Nick Bosa and Eric Fisher sharing a not-so-mutual embrace on the Chiefs’ 3rd-and-15 conversion. #49ers— Rob Lowder (@Rob_Lowder) February 7, 2020
( : @jav95_)pic.twitter.com/utjtD2mYlO
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see Bosa’s growth in his second season after he tore his ACL early in the Week 2 game against the New York Jets.
Although the 49ers’ defense performed well last season, Bosa’s absence was evident in the pass rush. San Francisco finished the 2020 campaign with 30 sacks, 18 less than the previous season.
The Athletic’s David Lombardi sums up how important Bosa is to the Niners’ defense.
“In short, there was a sizable difference — 11.2 points per 100 plays — between 2019’s elite defense featuring Bosa and the 2020 one that was simply good. For further context, that 11.2-point delta was as big as the gap between the NFL’s No. 5 and No. 26-ranked defenses in 2020.”
The good news is that barring any setbacks, Bosa should be ready to go by training camp. He quickly became a fan-favorite who should be in the running for the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year next season.
What are your expectations for Bosa in 2021?