No matter the sport, there will always be a premium value placed on players who can elevate their game when the stakes are raised on the postseason stage. For 49ers defensive linemen Arik Armstead, this is an annual trend when January football rolls around.
Armstead finished the 2022 postseason tied for the team lead in sacks with two, while leading all 49ers with 10 pressures. Armstead was also the only 49ers player to record multiple pressures in each game during these playoffs.
Perhaps the greatest value Armstead has brought in the postseason has been the consistency with which he presents problems for opposing offenses when the pressure is at its highest in a win or go home setting.
Armstead now has seven sacks and 11 quarterback hits in his nine career postseason games, and has recorded multiple sacks in each of the three postseason runs the 49ers have made during his career.
Often the victim of mind-numbingly unwarranted criticism, Armstead has been one of the most valuable players on this loaded 49ers roster for years now, and was arguably their most important player during this most recent postseason run that came up just short.
It’s clear how much those in the league respect Armstead and the impact he has on the game, as evidenced by a quote from Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll’s season ending press conference following a wild card loss to the 49ers.
Carroll was talking about how talented the 49ers front seven is and when it got time to name names and make a specific reference to an individual talent, guess who the first name he mentioned was? That’s right, before Nick Bosa, before Fred Warner, Carroll immediately referenced Armstead by name.
“But the guys up front really make a difference. [Arik] Armstead is unbelievably talented. He’s a problem every snap.”
So, when the inevitable discourse rears its head and the discussions about cap hits, contracts, and dearly missed players who have since been moved to other teams, remember what Armstead does when the lights shine the brightest against the top flight competition in the postseason.