It feels like Sunday Night Football is a week away. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather the 49ers play the 10:00 AM game instead of any other time slot. So, while we wait, let’s look at some of the news that’s 49ers-related as we wait for Sunday night.
The opposing head coach will tell you all you need to know about the 49ers. Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett raved about linebacker Fred Warner. The Niners have an impact player at each level, and it starts with Nick Bosa.
ESPN’s Seth Walder tweeted the leaders in pass rush win-rate along with which edge rusher is double-teamed the most. Unsurprisingly, no player is being doubled more than Bosa:
First win rate chart of the season!— Seth Walder (@SethWalder) September 21, 2022
Double team rate at edge (x) by pass rush win rate at edge (y).
Traffic jam at the bottom courtesy of Micah Parsons at the top! pic.twitter.com/WXWhvjf443
Using PFF’s win percentage, Bosa ranks fifth after two weeks at 23.3%. So, despite seeing extra bodies, opposing offenses aren’t slowing Bosa down. Bosa is one sack behind Micah Parsons for the league lead and is tied for the lead in QB hits. Needless to say, he’s off to a stellar start.
Bosa wouldn’t get that opportunity to rush the passer if San Francisco struggled against the run. Per RBSDM, the Niners have allowed the fourth-lowest rushing success rate at 33.3%. Bosa, Javon Kinlaw, and Arik Armstead have been fantastic at taking on double teams and allowing the linebackers and safeties to make plays.
But Samson Ebukam is the unheralded piece on defense so far. Only one player has a higher run-stop win rate than Ebukam this season.
You can go down the list on the defensive line. I’d argue that if defensive tackle Kevin Givens played full-time, he’d be on this list. Basically, everyone who plays along the 49ers' defensive line makes plays. Kudos to Kris Kocurek.
Can the safeties keep it up?
PFF grades can be fluky, but the 49ers have the NFL's second and fourth-highest graded safeties. Are Geno Smith and Justin Fields top quarterbacks? Nope. Do the safeties and secondary benefit from a dominant defensive line? You bet. Still, you can only do what’s asked of you, and, so far, the safeties are making plays.
Gipson should have two interceptions. Playing behind this defensive line, he’ll have ample opportunities so long as he’s on the field. This week will be a tough challenge as Russell Wilson loves to extend plays and heave the ball down the field. But, if Gipson and Talanoa Hufanga can hold the fort down over the next two weeks while Jimmie Ward recovers, it’ll be one of the biggest surprises of the first month for this team.
Russell Wilson hasn’t put the ball in harm's way so far while being among the league leaders in average depth of target. Sunday night will be the biggest test yet for the Niners' new safeties.