The 49ers' Elite Defense is Back
By: Cole A. McMahon
Photo by: 49ers/ Instagram
The 49ers’ defense from the first five games of the season reappeared in dominating fashion with their new trade acquisition, Chase Young, in the rotation.
Whether it was the bye week, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks coaching on the sideline, or the addition of Chase Young, the 49ers’ defense sacked Trevor Lawrence five times and had four takeaways in the game. This was the most dominant the defense had looked since the prime-time game vs. Dallas.
The defensive line was noticeably better, racking up five sacks and ten QB hits. Before the bye week, the 49ers’ defense did not have an answer for Joe Burrow and Kirk Cousins, who both had similar games shredding the defense. On Sunday, the defensive line set the tone, getting to Lawrence early and often.
Chase Young and his former college teammate Nick Bosa teamed up to sack Lawrence, where Bosa stripped and recovered the ball.
The second biggest change on defense this week was Steve Wilks’ presence on the sideline. During the bye, head coach Kyle Shanahan had discussions with Wilks about coaching from the sideline as opposed to the booth.
After the game, Fred Warner joked about Wilks’ being on the sideline saying, “I guess that’s the answer right there” (via KNBR).
In the previous three losses, the 49ers’ defense lacked energy. The energy was noticeably different on Sunday with Wilks on the sideline. After Charvarius Ward made a great play breaking up a pass in the end zone, the camera panned to Wilks praising Ward. Wilks’ energy resembled the 49ers’ past defensive coordinators Robert Saleh and Demeco Ryans.
Warner was a fan of having Steve Wilks on the sideline saying, “It was good having him down there. The communication was flawless” (via KNBR).