The San Francisco 49ers entered Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks with little to play for. Having the worst record in the NFL late in the season can affect a team’s will to win and this was apparent in a 43-16 loss.
The offensive line did reasonably well but was unable to do much in the ground game as the 49ers were down early in the contest. The 49ers will start a three-game homestand against the Denver Broncos this week who should prove to be a challenge with their elite pass rush.
Preview Versus The Denver Broncos
The Broncos defense features a good blend of power and speed. They have mammoth defensive tackles in the middle and speedy outside linebackers who are among the elite pass rushers in the NFL.
Outside linebacker Von Miller is by far the Broncos most dangerous pass rusher. The six-time Pro Bowl selection has already collected 12.5 sacks in 2018.
Bradley Chubb is having a great rookie season with 10 sacks. The outside linebacker from North Carolina State also has also added two forced fumbles and 30 tackles to his resume.
Derek Wolfe has great size for a defensive end standing 6-foot-5, 285 pounds. He only has 1.5 sacks for 2018 but does have 23 tackles and an interception.
Domata Peko only has half a sack for 2018 but he is a solid run stopper with 19 tackles. With a 6-foot-3, 325-pound frame, the nose tackle should be a problem for the 49ers interior offensive line.
Shelby Harris serves as a capable backup for Peko. He has 16 tackles and 1.5 sacks for the season. He also had a game-saving interception against the Pittsburgh Steelers two weeks ago.
Adam Gotsis lines up at the other defensive end spot. He only has one sack for 2018 but has forced a fumble and collected 16 tackles.
Review Versus The Seattle Seahawks
Overall, the 49ers were ineffective in the run game with only 67 rushing yards from their running backs. However, there were some positive runs from undrafted rookie Jeff Wilson Jr.
In the second quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-10 from their own 22-yard line. Wilson nearly got taken down for a loss before left tackle Joe Staley was able to push middle linebacker Bobby Wagner out of the way. From there, Wilson found room to the left where he gained a respectable 11 yards.
Late in the second quarter, the 49ers faced 1st-and-15 from their own 38-yard line. Nick Mullens took a little extra time to find an open receiver while Seattle defenders furiously tried to get to him. The 49ers offensive line did a phenomenal job in containing their assignments.
This is especially true for the offensive tackles who had to deal with defenders who tried to come from the outside and the inside over the extended play. Mullens had an incredible amount of time and used that opportunity to complete the pass for the first down.
Early in the third quarter, Mullens threw a screen pass to running back Matt Breida. The 49ers offensive line ran as far as 30 yards down the field to give Breida the room he needed to make the play. This effort resulted in a 26-yard gain.
On the 49ers opening drive center Weston Richburg battled against Wagner. While the match was close at first, Wagner quickly made a move to sack Mullens.
The 49ers have struggled with batted passes at the line of scrimmage this season and this game was no exception. Late in the second quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-11 from their own 42-yard line. Mullens tried to throw a pass but it was batted down by defensive end Frank Clark.
Late in the third quarter, the 49ers faced 3rd-and-8 from the Seahawks 33-yard line. Left guard Laken Tomlinson fought against defensive tackle Quinton Jefferson. Tomlinson was unable to contain Jefferson as he focused on Tomlinson’s left shoulder. Mullens was quickly taken down as a result of this error.
In the middle of the fourth quarter, the 49ers faced a 37-16 deficit and were trying to stage a late comeback. Right guard Mike Person battled defensive tackle Jarran Reed. Person was befuddled by Reed’s spin move and Mullens was pummeled after completing the pass.
Late in the fourth quarter the 49ers were down 43-16 and trying to make the final score a little closer. Right tackle Mike McGlinchey was knocked off his feet by Clark who was then able to make the sack.
On the 49ers final possession of the game they faced 4th-and-Goal from the Seahawks 12-yard line. Staley did a masterful job in containing defensive end Jacob Martin. Unfortunately, Tomlinson equally’s impressive work was undone with a stunt by Reed. Mullens did not stand a chance and was sacked by Reed to end the game.
Late in the first quarter, the 49ers faced 2nd-and-10. Mullens lined up in the shotgun formation and commanded the snap. Richburg snapped the ball well over Mullens who miraculously recovered the ball.
The 49ers offensive line is facing one of its greatest tests of the season. The Broncos feature a little of everything which can be effective against the 49ers blockers. The line has matured over the course of the season and this may be the best time to demonstrate how much they have grown as a unit. The future will look bright for the 49ers offensive line if they perform well against the Broncos.