Nick Bosa and Chase Young have a lot in common. Both starred as defensive ends for Ohio State. Both were the No. 2 overall pick in back-to-back NFL drafts. And Young likely will be named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year, just as Bosa was last season.
Young had the best game of his NFL career Sunday in the Washington Football Team's win over the 49ers when he recorded six tackles, one sack, two QB hits, two passes defensed and forced a fumble that he recovered and returned for a 47-yard touchdown. The TD gave Washington the lead in the final minute of the first half, and the 49ers played from behind the rest of the day. It was a reminder of what a difference a dominant young player can make.
That's what San Francisco had in Bosa last season. Bosa tore his ACL in the second game of the season this year. After Young's dominant game against the 49ers, it's time for another reminder: Bosa was much better than his fellow Ohio State product through his first 12 games as a pro.
Young now has 35 tackles -- eight for loss -- 5.5 sacks, eight QB hits, three passes defensed, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery. That's a hell of a start to his NFL career.
Now here's how Bosa's first 12 games went last season: 36 tackles -- 14 for loss -- eight sacks, 16 QB hits, one pass defensed, one interception, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Bosa finished his rookie year with an 86.7 Pro Football Focus grade, which is 0.2 behind Khalil Mack for the best grade by a rookie edge defender since 2012. Young has the fifth-best grade since 2012 at 79.8.
The 49ers' defense has taken a big step back with Bosa on the shelf. They averaged 3.2 sacks per game last season, and that number is down to just 1.8 this year. San Francisco allowed just 19.4 points per game in 2019. That number is up to 23.9.
Throughout the 2020 season, the 49ers have been ravaged by injury. Bosa is right near the top of the most important players to go down, along with Jimmy Garoppolo and George Kittle. This season hasn't gone as planned, but being reminded Bosa will be chasing down QBs next year brings a lot more for 2021.