Even without the stars, Ryans’ unit shines
The focus coming out of the 49ers’ 15-10 win over the Chargers is certainly the quarterback competition, but the headline should probably be about the stifling defensive effort San Francisco put forth last night.
The Chargers ran 62 plays and gained a total of 162 total yards. That’s 2.6 yards per play if you’re crunching the numbers at home. But, whether it was the “first team,” second team, or third team, the 49ers’ defensive front consistently won its battles upfront and spent most of the game disrupting plays in the Chargers’ backfield.
All told, the 49ers notched five sacks and 11 tackles for loss. Four of those sacks and six of those tackles for loss came from the defensive line — without Nick Bosa or Dee Ford coming off the edge and without Javon Kinlaw in the middle. The defense even outscored the Chargers early thanks to a safety from Jordan Willis early in the second quarter.
Clearly, the defensive line is the deepest position group on the team, and it showed last night. With so many talented players, the 49ers will rotate players in and out of the lineup frequently throughout the game. This should allow everyone to stay fresher and healthier throughout the season while also setting up their elite players to be at their best physically during the critical portions of the game.
If the 49ers can continue to generate that kind of push upfront during the regular season, offenses are in real trouble. But, considering the slate of opposing quarterbacks they’ll be facing in 2021, this defensive line will eat and eat well this season.