This edition of my weekly feature on the trenches is focused on Nick Bosa and his league-leading 18.5 sacks. To highlight just how special this season was for the 49ers' superstar edge rusher, I made cut-ups of every one of the 18.5 sacks that Bosa registered this season (even the half sack) and organized them chronologically with a quick breakdown for each one.
In each breakdown, I included the sack total for the season and the pass-rushing move that Bosa used to record each respective sack.
This one is for Big Mar and anyone else out there who loves “Da Sack.” Hope you enjoy!
Week 1 @ Chicago
Season sack total - 1
Pass rushing move used - Bull rush
The first sack of the year for Bosa, way back in a week one tilt 49ers fans would probably like to forget now that the season is over. This sack came with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter, as Bosa beat Bears left tackle Braxton Jones with an overpowering bull rush to get into the backfield and bring down Justin Fields.
Week 2 vs. Seattle
Season sack total - 2
Pass rushing moves used - Scissor swipe
This was the first of two Bosa sacks in this game, with this one coming on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Seattle is going to have Geno Smith moving to his left on a designed rollout, with running back Travis Homer appearing to be responsible for picking up Bosa in pass protection.
Watch how Bosa cheats out of his three-point stance before the ball is snapped, almost as if he knew what was coming. Bosa pursues off the backside essentially as a free rusher, but he does beat Homer with a scissor swipe when they make contact, so we’re going to label that as the pass-rushing move for this rep.
Bosa’s second sack of the day came later in the second half as the Seahawks scrambled to get anything going on offense.
Season sack total - 3
Pass rushing move used - Rip move
Bosa’s second sack of the afternoon came on a 3rd & 12 with 9:52 remaining in the fourth quarter and Seattle trailing by double digits. Bosa is lined up as the 9-technique in an overloaded front, and while this sack was primarily a result of Bosa’s relentless motor and the coverage downfield, he does disengage the left guard with a rip move, so that’s what we are going with on this particular rep. Enjoy.
Week 3 @ Denver
Season sack total - 4
Pass rush move used - Free release
Bosa had six pressures in this game, including an inside spin move that was one of his most impressive pass-rushing reps of the entire season. The sack he recorded, however, would be classified as anything but.
It came with 14:27 remaining in the third quarter, with the Broncos facing a 2nd & 6 from their own 29-yard line. Denver is going to call a play fake with Russell Wilson keeping on a boot to his right, but one major issue kept this play from being executed the way it was drawn up.
Nobody blocked Bosa. Seriously, how do you not always account for the most dangerous player on the field? Either way, no matter the reason it happened, it did allow Bosa his easiest path to a sack in 2022 when he waltzed into the backfield before getting tangled up with Wilson and being credited with his fourth sack of the year. No pass rush moves to chronicle here. This was a free release to the quarterback the entire way.
Week 4 vs. LAR
Season sack total- 5
Pass rush move used - Hesi-step/stunt
This was another multi-sack game for Bosa and arguably the magnum opus of his masterpiece of a season. Bosa had 14, yes, you read that right, 14 pressures in this game, including this sack on 3rd & 8 with 2:51 remaining in the first quarter.
Bosa is lined up in a wide 9 to the heavy side of an overloaded front and is going to sell the stem of an outside rush before hesi-stepping and looping into the A-gap to get a free rush on Matthew Stafford.
Bosa’s second sack of the evening was a bit more of a product of his motor as well as the motor of his fellow defensive linemen.
Season sack total- 6
Pass rushing move used - Scissor swipe
This one came on 1st & 10 from the 49ers' 22-yard line with 6:46 remaining in the third quarter. Bosa wins at the point of attack with the swipe move, but his motor is what ultimately gets him credited with this sack. As Stafford struggles to find any daylight in a crumbling pocket, Bosa is the 49ers' defender who makes contact with him before he goes to the ground.
Week 7 vs. Kansas City
Season sack total - 7
Pass rush move used - Stab lift
Following a groin injury suffered in Week 5, Bosa missed a game and a half before immediately making his presence felt upon his return to the lineup. This was one of the lone bright spots for the 49ers in the beatdown the Chiefs put on them, which also happens to be the last time they lost a game.
This one came in the fourth quarter, with the 49ers needing to find a way to get the ball back quickly and stop the bleeding. With 12:54 remaining in the game, Kansas City faced a 1st & 10 from their own 20-yard line. Bosa beats the right tackle with an exceptionally executed stab lift and brought Mahomes down for a sack that momentarily gave you the sense perhaps momentum was shifting. (Spoiler, it wasn’t).
Week 8 @ LAR
Season sack total - 7.5
Pass rushing move - Forklift
This was Bosa’s lone “half sack” of the season, and it came on a 3rd & 7 deep in Rams territory with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter. Bosa is going to beat Rams left tackle Alaric Jackson with a forklift move and get in the backfield to help Fred Warner bring down Stafford.
Season sack total - 8.5
Pass rushing move - Swim move
With 6:14 remaining in the 4th quarter, the Rams trailed by three scores and were hanging on by a thread. Facing a 2nd & 5 from their own 26-yard line, Stafford was dropped for the third time by Bosa, this time for a loss of 11 yards.
Bosa effectively put the nail in the coffin with this sack on a rep that he won with a well-timed swim move to the inside shoulder of the left tackle Jackson.
Week 10 vs. LAC
Season sack total - 9.5
Pass rush move used - Bull rush
With remaining in the second quarter, the Chargers held a 10-3 lead and had the ball inside the 49ers' 10-yard line with a chance to push the lead to two touchdowns. On 2nd & goal from the 8-yard line, Bosa was able to sack Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert and, as a result, force a more difficult goal-to-go situation on third down that ultimately culminated in a field goal try rather than a touchdown.
If you recall, the Chargers were fairly beaten up on their offensive line and, because of that, were forced to plug in a right tackle that was making his first career start in the NFL. Walk in the shoes of Foster Sarell for a moment. Finally, here is your shot to start an NFL game, and you get welcomed into the league by being tasked with blocking Bosa for four quarters.
On this particular rep, Bosa hit Sarell with a devastating bull rush, getting into the backfield and bringing down Herbert from behind to register his ninth sack of the year.
Week 11 @ Arizona (In Mexico City)
Season sack total - 10.5
Pass rush move used - Power/motor
Remember that 38-10 shellacking the 49ers put on the Cardinals in Mexico City? That game wasn’t always so lopsided, as the Cardinals had the ball with under a minute left before halftime and trailing by seven. On 1st & 10 from their own 36-yard line, Arizona was in a position to have a shot at sneaking into field goal range and cutting into the deficit before the break.
While there wasn’t a definitive pass-rushing move used by Bosa on this rep, it did highlight his power and motor. Lined up as the middle player to the heavy side of an overloaded front, Bosa was able to fight off blocks from both the left guard and left tackle before finding space to pursue and bring down Colt McCoy as he attempted to escape from the pocket.
Week 12 vs. New Orleans
Season sack total - 11.5
Pass rushing move used - Scissor swipe
If anyone was on the fence about voting for Bosa for Defensive Player of the Year, I would immediately direct them to the final three defensive plays of the 49ers' win over the Saints in Week 12.
Bosa registered pressures on three straight dropbacks inside the 49ers' own five-yard line, capped off with this sack of Andy Dalton on 4th & goal that effectively iced this game for the 49ers and secured their only shutout of the season. Bosa uses a scissor swipe to beat the left tackle and win the edge, bringing down Dalton and any hopes the Saints had of pulling off a miraculous comeback in this game.
Week 13 vs. Miami
Season sack total - 12.5
Pass rush move used - Scissor swipe
This was Bosa’s best game of the season in terms of sack total, registering three in this win over the Dolphins. The first came in the 2nd quarter with Miami facing a 3rd & 1 inside the 49ers' 20-yard line.
The Dolphins tried chipping Bosa at the line of scrimmage with fullback Alec Ingold, and to nobody's surprise, it did not work very well as Bosa quickly discarded him with a swipe move before bearing down on Tua Tagovailoa and forcing Miami to end what was once a promising drive with a field goal attempt.
Bosa’s second sack of this game came late in the second quarter with the Dolphins facing a 3rd & 8 from their own 39-yard line.
Season sack total - 13.5
Pass rushing move used - Speed/stunt
This one allowed Bosa to flash his quick burst and agility, exploding through the A-Gap to bring Tagovailoa down on a well-executed stunt. One that would not have been possible without the impeccable technique by Arik Armstead, which widened the A-Gap for Bosa to come crashing down and destroy any hope Miami had of converting this third and long.
Bosa’s third and final sack in this game came late in the fourth quarter, effectively putting this one out of reach for good.
Season sack total - 14.5
Pass rush move used - Forklift/swim move
With a little over two minutes remaining, the Dolphins trailed by two scores with the ball on their own 25-yard line, desperate to get something going and give themselves a chance to pull off an improbable comeback.
Bosa quickly dashed any hopes at that, beating the right tackle with a forklift/swim move combination before hitting Tagovailoa as he attempted to complete a pass downfield. This strip sack by Bosa led to a fumble recovery by Dre Greenlaw that was returned for a touchdown, pushing the 49ers' lead to 16 and all but ending this game.
Week 15 @ Seattle
Season sack total - 15.5
Pass rush move used - Forklift/rip move
Games against Seattle will always have a little bit more meaning, but this one, in particular, was exceptionally special because the 49ers had a chance to clinch the NFC west on their rivals' home field.
Bosa sacked Geno Smith for the third time this season in this one, bringing down the Seahawks quarterback on a 2nd & 21 from the 49ers' 35-yard line. Bosa grabbed the forearm of Seahawks tackle Charles Cross as he would on a forklift, but Cross backed out of the way, which led Bosa to follow through with what resembled a rip move to get home and bring Smith down for an 11-yard loss.
Week 16 vs. Commanders
Season sack total - 16.5
Pass rush move used - Chop
The first of Bosa’s two sacks that were officially scored in this one came with Washington driving deep into 49ers' territory just before halftime. Bosa uses a bit of hesitation to the inside before bursting to the edge, knocking down the outside arm of the left tackle with a subtle chop to win the edge and bring down Commanders quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
Bosa had a couple more sacks in this game, with his next one leading to a strip sack that was improbably recovered by Jordan Willis amongst a sea of Commanders players.
Season sack total - 17.5
Pass rush move used - Stab lift
With Washington down double digits in the fourth quarter, they were frantically searching for any kind of sustained offense that could get some points on the board. On 2nd & 8 from their own 21, Bosa got home and hit Heinickie so hard that the ball popped out of his hands and into the air before being caught by Willis to force a turnover.
The angle is a bit tough, but if you look closely, you can see Bosa land the stab with his right arm while executing the “tiger” lift on the outside arm of the right tackle to win the edge and get home to hit the quarterback.
Bosa had one more sack in this game, it didn’t count officially towards his season total due to it coming on a two-point attempt, but I’m going to include it in this breakdown because it was pivotal in the outcome of this game by preventing the Commanders from cutting it to a one-score game late in the fourth quarter.
Pass rush move used - Swim move
Week 18 vs. Arizona
Season sack total - 18.5
Pass rush move used - Bull rush
Bosa’s final sack of the season came on a 2nd & 9 from the Arizona 49-yard line with 10:48 remaining in the second quarter. Bosa beats the left tackle with a devastatingly powerful bull rush and brings down Cardinals quarterback David Blough for a loss of five yards.
Bosa finished 2022 by sacking 11 different quarterbacks and recorded multiple sacks against four different quarterbacks. Bosa recorded at least one sack in 13 different games, becoming just the fourth player to accomplish that feat since the individual sack became a statistic in 1982.
Here are the totals for the pass-rushing moves Bosa used to record these 18.5 sacks:
Scissor Swipe - 4
Bull Rush - 3
Forklift - 3
Stab lift - 2
Hesi/stunt - 2
Swim move - 1
Chop - 1
Motor - 1