SANTA CLARA – 49ers rookie defensive end Nick Bosa’s ability to make adjustments will be tested this week.
For the first time in his career, he will face the same opponent twice in the same season when the 49ers meet the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday in a Week 11 game at Levi’s Stadium.
That means another opportunity to go up against Cardinals left tackle, D.J. Humphries, a fifth-year pro who is having his best NFL season through 10 games. Humphries has allowed just one sack and 21 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus.
When the 49ers beat the Cardinals in Arizona on Thursday, Oct. 31, Bosa had three quarterback hurries of rookie Kyler Murray, the No. 1 overall pick in the draft. Bosa was selected No. 2.
“Definitely, a big learning experience,” Bosa said. “It was a short week, so a lot of the game plan that we had that week, we’re keeping. And we’re obviously adjusting to some other stuff. But we know our opponent and we know what to do to beat them. We just got to prepare.”
Bosa and Arik Armstead lead the 49ers with seven sacks apiece. Bosa has gone two games without throwing the opposing quarterback for a loss, but he had a strong game Monday against Seattle. Bosa applied pressure to Russell Wilson six times with one hit.
Facing mobile quarterbacks in back-to-back games has given Bosa some lessons on the mindset needed when he faces Murray again Sunday.
“They’re all different, but I’m getting better at it, for sure,” Bosa said.
What’s the key?
“Relentless,” he said. “Keep after it, no matter what. You never know when he’ll hold onto it, so you got to rush like he’s holding on to it every time.”
The 49ers expect the Cardinals to repeat much of the same game plan from the Week 9 meeting. The Cardinals' offensive approach consisted of screens, quick-hitting passes and running the ball in an attempt to neutralize the 49ers' pass rush.
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Bosa and the rest of the defense is coming off an overtime game in which he, Armstead and DeForest Buckner played nearly every snap. Buckner played 69 of the team’s 73 defensive plays, while Armstead was on the field for 68 snaps. Bosa was on the field for a career-high 60 plays.
“During the game, you’re good to go,” Bosa said. “Obviously, you’re going to keep giving it all you have, but the next day you definitely feel it. I usually don’t play that many plays. We don’t usually play that many plays as a defense, so we’re all a little extra sore, but we’ll be fine.”