When a third straight second-half shutout is an afterthought, you know the 49ers had a good night. Yet despite more brilliance from DeMeco Ryans’ defense, their effort on Monday Night Football has been an afterthought, thanks to 38 points from the offense. So on today’s Bully Ball podcast, Jason Aponte gave Ryans his flowers.
“More than anything, I just want 49ers fans to enjoy DeMeco Ryans while he’s here. He is sure to be a head coach [next year]. Stop trying to fire him after every first drive. Stop trying to fire him after every first quarter. Please stop being so reactionary. The guy is making adjustments.
I think he’s the best defensive coordinator during the Kyle Shanahan era, no disrespect to Robert Saleh and what he’s got going on [in New York]. Three straight weeks of zero points allowed in the second half. You could say, ‘The Rams have no weapons, the Chargers have no weapons, the Cardinals have no weapons.’ It is almost impossible to do this because those guys get paid on the other side. Those are still NFL players. Spare me with that right there.
I think DeMeco Ryans is obviously going to be a coach next year, and I just want 49ers fans to enjoy him. Just enjoy him while he’s here. Enjoy the fact that you have a defensive coordinator that is great at adjustments.”
In fairness, Kyle Shanahan has seen this kind of defensive performance before. The last time the 49ers’ defense didn’t allow a second-half point for three straight games was three years ago in 2019. Robert Saleh’s defense accomplished the feat against the Browns, Rams, and Commanders.
That said, Ryans’s unit has absolutely been on fire over the last three games. Essentially, Rayns uses the first couple of possessions to get a feel for how the offense is attacking and then absolutely shuts the water off on them after that. The Rams had two early scoring drives before the cut-off. The Chargers actually had four scoring drives before the adjustments, but three of those were field goals. Last night the Cardinals went back to the customary two-scoring drives before the offense dried up.
The naysayers will throw out the excuses. The Rams’ offensive line stinks, Justin Herbert was missing his wide receivers, and Kyler didn’t play for the Cardinals. Big deal. I’ll see you those players and raise you a full season of Jimmie Ward, Arik Armstead, Javon Kinlaw, and Emmanuel Moseley. Yards and points have never been easier to gain in the NFL, and Ryans’ players are surrendering neither.
The 49ers were lucky not to lose DeMeco Ryans to a head coaching job last year, and they’re reaping the benefits in 2022. For at least another seven games, this defense has a chance to something really special and send their boss off with a bang.