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The 49ers Offensive Line: Week 13

The San Francisco 49ers lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday 27-9. The offensive line did very well in the run game and showed life throughout the game.

The Buccaneers pass rush was able to sack quarterback Nick Mullens four times but was continually befuddled with rollout plays. Despite the final score, the 49ers offensive line showed promise in a no-win situation.

Next on the schedule is the 49ers nemesis, the Seattle Seahawks, who are in the hunt for a playoff spot.

Preview Versus The Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks feature an intimidating 4-3 defense. Dion Jordan terrorizes quarterbacks from the defensive end spot. He has had a slow start to the 2018 season and only has half a sack. However, his 6-foot-6 frame could cause problems for the 49ers offensive tackles.

Shamar Stephen has proven to be elusive as a defensive tackle. He has two sacks and 20 tackles in 2018. While he can be a playmaker within the trenches, his 6-foot-5 frame could be a benefit for the 49ers center and guards. This is due to leverage and the taller a defensive tackle is the better chance he has of losing leverage against run blocks. Stephen is questionable to play with a foot injury.

Jarran Reed has been a terror all season at the other defensive tackle spot. He has 5.5 sacks along with 36 tackles for 2018. With these statistics, this is easily the best season of his career. He could prove to be a matchup nightmare for the 49ers interior offensive line.

Frank Clark wreaks havoc from the other defensive end spot. He leads the team with an impressive 10 sacks. What is intriguing is his 6-foot-2 height. As a defensive end, he is constantly battling against taller opponents yet he leads the Seahawks in sacks. Speed matters most in this situation and the 49ers tackles must have quick feet to contain him.

Bobby Wagner has been a star at middle linebacker since he was drafted in 2012. While he does not have any sacks he does lead the team with 85 tackles. He could have the biggest impact against the 49ers explosive running game.

Review Versus The Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Good:

The 49ers did very well against the Buccaneers on the ground with several large runs from Matt Breida who led the team with 106 yards rushing on just 14 carries.

On the 49ers first offensive play Breida failed to find room to run on the right and darted to the left. The 49ers offensive line did well in executing their blocking assignments as Breida was able to run for an exhilarating 33 yards.

In the middle of the second quarter, the 49ers faced 2nd-and-8 from the Buccaneers 45-yard line. The Buccaneers did a good job in plugging the hole. However, the 49ers offensive line did slightly better and was able to create just enough room for Breida to run for a nifty 11 yard gain.

Early in the third quarter, Breida ran a sweep for an 11 yard gain. What makes this impressive is that there were multiple offensive linemen downfield waiting to block for him. The offensive line is coming together as a unit in the run game and this play perfectly illustrates that bond.

The Bad:

Late in the second quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-15 from their own 26-yard line. Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul attacked the 49ers offensive line without mercy as he came from the edge and wound up in the middle of the line.

Pierre-Paul weaved through left tackle Joe Staley and left guard Laken Tomlinson, both of whom were concerned with other assignments, and shoved center Weston Richburg to the ground. Pierre-Paul then sacked Mullens ending one of the most impressive defensive plays of the day.

The Ugly:

On the 49ers first drive of the game, they faced 1st-and-10 from their own 43-yard line. Defensive end Carl Nassib stunted from his original position to Richburg.

Nassib had little trouble in sacking Mullens and forcing a fumble which Mullens quickly recovered. It was the beginning of a long day for the 49ers pass protectors.

Final Thoughts:

Despite being on a two-game losing streak, the 49ers have done well in the run game. They are currently ranked fifth in the NFL with 134.9 yards rushing per game.

The Seahawks are 22nd in the NFL for rushing yards allowed with 121.4 yards per game. The 49ers offensive line has done well against weak pass rushing units but has crumbled against even moderate pass rushes.

The Seahawks are going through changes on defense this year but are starting to show some life as the playoffs loom. This could be the game that shows how much the 49ers offensive line has improved this season.

David Hegler

Author David Hegler

BS in Business Management from Azusa Pacific University. Fanatical 49er fan. Avid fan of all Bay Area sports teams.

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Sports Al Dente 2018