49ers

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

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AP

How Seahawks' Russell Wilson beat 49ers' pass rush with play-action

The 49ers got to Russell Wilson in Monday night's 27-24 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Wilson was sacked a season-high five times at Levi's Stadium, posting his second-worst passer rating of 2019 (86.9) and a season-low 43.6 QBR. He also threw his second interception of the season and fumbled for the first time since Week 4. 

Yet Wilson did just enough to remain effective in spite of that pressure, showing why he is an MVP frontrunner when he led the Seahawks to their game-winning field-goal drive in overtime. Wilson also employed plenty of misdirection to keep the 49ers' dominant pass rush at bay, according to NFL Next Gen Stats. 

On the season, the 49ers have pressured QBs on 29.7 percent of dropbacks. That 17 percent pressure rate on play-action plays would be 30th-best in the NFL if extended over a full season, just behind the Cincinnati Bengals (17.1 percent) and just ahead of the Oakland Raiders (15.9 percent). 

For reference, those two teams have combined for five fewer sacks (30) than the 49ers have all season. 

Wilson's play-action success could give opposing teams something of a blueprint, and that could trip up the 49ers in their own division down the stretch. In addition to playing the Seahawks once more, the 49ers also will play the Los Angeles Rams in Week 16 at Levi's. Rams coach Sean McVay loves using play-action, and the Rams were far more efficient last season on play-action passes than traditional ones. The Rams have taken a step back this season and the 49ers kept LA's offense in check in Week 6, but play-action remains a big part of the Rams' offense and the 49ers will have to be ready for it.

[RELATED: 49ers ready to focus on Cardinals after tough Seahawks loss]

It doesn't stop with the Seahawks and Rams. Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray is known for his play-action abilities, too, while Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers also have been better in play-action this season. The 49ers play Green Bay and Arizona in each of the next two weeks. 

San Francisco has a difficult slate of QBs remaining on its schedule, including ones who succeed where Wilson did Monday night. That's one additional area the 49ers will have to shore up down the stretch. 

Why Kendrick Bourne is thrilled 49ers put second-round tender on him

Why Kendrick Bourne is thrilled 49ers put second-round tender on him

Wide receiver Kendrick Bourne has become a staple of the 49ers' offense, and the team is looking to keep him around.

Back on March 17, the 49ers placed second-round tenders on Bourne and running back Matt Breida.

Appearing on the 49ers Insider Podcast with NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco last week, Bourne was asked for his thoughts on the 49ers' decision.

"Definitely thrilled," Bourne said from his parents' home in Portland, Oregon. "Just kind of relieved a little bit, just feeling the respect coming around a little bit on my name, respect from the league and all that, the whole nine yards. Especially going to the Super Bowl, my team being a great team, us making it that far helps everybody, period, on the team. So just thrilled and thankful for the Niners for still believing in me after three years, believing for Year Four and just ready to attack it.

"It just sucks that our OTAs have been postponed. Really excited to get back and get to work, be around the guys again, but just a little more time to work and get a little more polished before OTAs, so I guess that's cool now."

As a restricted free agent, Bourne is allowed to negotiate a contract with another team. If he signs an offer sheet and the 49ers choose not to match, the team would get a second-round draft as compensation.

[RELATED: Impact Sanders had on 49ers' receivers]

Undrafted out of Eastern Washington, Bourne signed with the 49ers in 2017. This past season, he caught 30 passes for 358 yards and five touchdowns.

NFL Draft 2020: Agents share how coronavirus changes impact prospects

NFL Draft 2020: Agents share how coronavirus changes impact prospects

The 2020 NFL Draft might favor players who were able to able to attend the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, because of pro days and in-person meetings being canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But some agents believe teams have all the information they need to proceed on schedule.

Leigh Steinberg and Chris Cabott, from Steinberg Sports and Entertainment, spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area about how their preparation for the draft has been consistent to what they’ve done in the past. Their agency represents Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa and wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, among other draft hopefuls.

Both longtime agents believe players who attended an All-Star event or the combine have an advantage, but that always has been the case. As in every draft, there will be players who exceed expectations and those who don’t live up to them.

“When I first started in the industry in 1975 with Steve Bartkowski, there were no pro days, no team meetings, no combine,” Steinberg said. “If you look at statistics from players then, to those selected in 2005, the players in 1975 were more successful and productive. 

“Teams obviously believe that the more information they have, the better, but at some point, it’s enough. I believe they have enough information to make educated and prudent choices.”

Brett Tessler, who represents 49ers running back Raheem Mostert, believes players who weren’t able to attend or weren’t invited to the combine are at a disadvantage across the board. An off-the-radar player won’t have the chance to catch a scout or coach’s eye at a local pro day and jump up a team’s draft board.

“For most non-combine guys, it's going to put everybody at an equal disadvantage,” Tessler told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Teams will rely more on the spring testing numbers that they got prior to this season.

“But, the biggest disadvantage for non-combine guys trying to get drafted is the lack of being brought in for pre-draft visits, where the medical staffs can do all the background work on these guys that they need to do.”

Just like everyone across the nation, players, agents and teams are taking advantage of video conferencing technology such as Zoom and Skype for their 30 one-on-one pre-draft visits. This actually might be the one advantage for players who have grown up with video calls as the norm.

[RELATED: Why Kentucky's Bowden is intriguing for Shanahan, 49ers]

As in the past, teams still have the ability to ask players schematic questions using a virtual chalkboard, and go over game film during video conferencing sessions. Cabott also believes one resource could be more important than in previous pre-draft research.

“Trainers,” Cabott said. “Those guys who were working with players, getting them ready for pro days will have information that will be important for teams. They can give projections, send videos of testing and have insight to a player’s work ethic.”