The defense has easily been the best unit on the 49ers through the season's first three weeks. And while they did give up 19 points to Chicago in Week 1, the defense was only responsible for allowing nine points over the last two weeks. Now comes their toughest test in Sean McVay and the Rams offense led by Matthew Stafford and Cooper Kupp.
Here at the five 49ers to watch on defense as they try to help the 49ers start 2-0 against the NFC West:
DE Nick Bosa
Bosa continued his torrid start to 2022 Sunday night against the Broncos, adding another sack to his season total with seven pressures. The edge rusher is tied with Josh Allen for third-most pressures with 16 behind only Brian Burns and Micah Parsons. That could mean trouble for Rams left tackle Joe Noteboom who has allowed 12 pressures, the third-most in the NFL for tackles. While Bosa usually lines up against the right side of the offense, it could be expected that DeMeco Ryans plays the matchup on Monday night.
S Tashaun Gipson
While Talanoa Hufanga has gotten a lot of well-deserved praise, Gipson has quietly been putting together a good season in place of an injured Jimmie Ward. Gipson hasn’t allowed a reception yet, only on two targets, and has an interception through the first three weeks of the season. However, Matthew Stafford isn’t afraid to take deep shots with 11 attempts over 20 air yards through the first three weeks of the season, so it could be up to Gipson to prevent those big plays. Stafford, however, has only completed three of those 11 attempts with an interception.
CB Deommodore Lenoir
It appears the honeymoon phase with Samuel Womack is over as Lenior took 35 snaps on Sunday night against the Broncos, with all coming in the slot. Lenior was targeted seven times in Denver, allowing five receptions but only allowing 32 receiving yards. Monday night will be a tough test for the second-year cornerback as All-Pro receiver and defending Offensive Player of the Year Cooper Kupp has played 87 of his 177 offensive snaps in the slot.
DE Samson Ebukam
Monday night will be a revenge game for Ebukam as he will play his fourth game against his former team since signing with the 49ers in the 2021 offseason. Ebukam struggled in two regular-season games against the Rams in 2021 with zero pressures and only one tackle but had half of a sack and three tackles in the NFC Championship Game. Through three games on the season, Ebukam has a sack and three pressures but faces a Rams offensive line that has allowed three sacks of Matthew Stafford per game.
CB Emmanuel Moseley
Cornerback is a tricky position, especially in today’s NFL. While PFF’s coverage stats for Moseley aren’t the greatest, seven passes completed on 10 targets for a passer rating of 98.3 against, Moseley hasn’t given up much with just 91 yards allowed on those seven receptions allowed with two pass breakups.
Moseley has allowed 25 yards after the catch on those receptions so he’s not allowing the big plays after the catch as well, allowing just 3.58 yards after the catch per reception. He will see some Cooper Kupp but will mostly see Allen Robinson who has had a slow start to his tenure with the Rams.