The San Francisco 49ers beat the Los Angeles Chargers 22-16 at Levi’s Stadium Sunday night. Niners defensive play-caller DeMeco Ryans silenced any noise about the defense by holding the last two opponents scoreless in the second half. We look at six uplifting plays 49ers fans will love below.
Greenlaw is proving his worth
Dre Greenlaw’s specialty is stopping the run. The 49ers extended him after the win against Seattle in Week 2. Honestly, I thought it was a bit of a head-scratcher with Azeez Al-Shaair playing at an all-pro level last year.
However, Greenlaw’s impact against the run is partially the reason for San Francisco’s rush defense bouncing back. Greenlaw helped keep Austin Ekeler in check and flew sideline to sideline all game.
The defense stands strong after Brandon Aiyuk’s fumble
I’ve been the ringleader saying Brandon Aiyuk possesses elite talent, but he keeps shooting himself in the foot. Luckily, Ryans is a magician that consistently spares Shanahan.
We see Ryans get aggressive with Tashaun Gipson blitzing off the edge in press Cover 1. Ryans overloaded Herbert’s right side, and Jordan Willis’ pressure versus the double team freed up Gipson.
I will say the 49ers did get a bit lucky with Deommodore Lenoir’s play Sunday. He lined up in off-coverage for most of the game and constantly allowed defenders to get behind him—something to note with superstar DeAndre Hopkins up next week.
Bosa sacks Hebert in the red zone
Nick Bosa’s sack on Los Angeles’ fifth offensive possession prevented them from going up 17-3 in the second quarter. Bosa is the best player on the defense, and the Chargers felt his presence all game. Ryans allowing Bosa to flip sides is a great way to keep pressure on the quarterback with a hobbled defensive line.
Jackson continues to make impact plays
Drake Jackson’s rookie campaign gets better by the week. He continues to improve against the run, and his athleticism pops on film every time I watch him. Jackson breaking up passes isn’t new but it shows you the brilliance he has when rushing. Strong, active hands mixed with physical ability give Jackson the tools to become elite in this league.
Ryans’ blitz startles Herbert
Flawless execution by the 49ers on this 6-man pressure from Ryans.— KP (@KP_Show) November 14, 2022
- Blitz 3 2nd level players. Bosa peels off to cover the RB
- Warner walls off #3 to the bottom so the QB can’t throw hot then drives on the underneath WR
- EZ view: 2 on 1 with the RT cause Givens does his job. pic.twitter.com/oAhItW0OFK
Ok, this one is a little tricky because Jimmie Ward may be blitzing when he isn't supposed to. Ward blitzing leaves Warner with two receivers, but the blitz got home, forcing Herbert to heave the ball away.
Bosa peeling to the running back is something we should see more so Ryans can blitz different defensive backs. The 49ers almost always get pressure when they bring someone from the secondary. I’m not saying put Bosa in coverage more, but I’d love to see him peel once a game to free up a Blitzer.
Bosa shows why you don’t run to his side
Last but not least, we have Bosa making another impact play. Los Angeles’ offense struggled greatly in the second half. No one could block Bosa, so Joe Lombardi figured it would be worth not trying to block him at all. We all see that didn’t work out how he planned, as Bosa proves he’s one of the best edges in the game.
I was truly impressed by the 49ers’ defensive turnaround Sunday night. Hearing Gerald Everett and DeAndre Carter’s names over and over made my ears bleed. Carter’s explosive plays do worry me a bit with Hopkins up next week. Hopefully, we won’t get last year’s version of Colt McCoy, and or Kyler Murray stays out.