Nick Bosa thrilled to be healthy, register first sack in 49ers debut

Nick Bosa thrilled to be healthy, register first sack in 49ers debut

TAMPA, Fla. — Nick Bosa's much-anticipated 49ers debut exemplified what the rookie pass rusher is capable of.

The No. 2 pick in the 2019 NFL draft played 39 of the defense’s 70 snaps in the 49ers' 31-17 win over the Bucs, which calculates to 56 percent. During that time, he racked up two solo tackles, one for a loss, and one assist. He also sacked Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston once and hit him three times.

Bosa spent a bit of time off the field during OTAs due to a hamstring injury, and then was sidelined again in training camp with an ankle sprain. One of the biggest victories might have been him simply getting through the entire game healthy after a year away from the game due to injuries. 

“Good, a little sore, just getting back into it,” Bosa said when asked about his health. “It’s a long game and you can’t really simulate it with practice so, definitely sore but I’ll be fine.

“Just getting my ankle back. An ankle sprain is something you kind of have to work through a little bit of pain in the beginning. Pretty happy that I got through the whole game and I started to pick it up at the end and we got the win.” 

There were a few plays that Bosa would like to have back. The most notable instance was when he got into the backfield close enough for what could have been a sack, but hesitated. Winston subsequently slipped through his grasp.

“Yeah, just shooting my gun instead of pitter-pattering my feet like that,” Bosa said. “Because if I shoot my gun, even if I don’t get him, I’ll make him either stumble or make him go a certain way so somebody else can get him. I kind of just broke down too much and let him get away. Go for whatever I see instead of hesitating.” 

Bosa was more pleased with his performance in the second half, as he became adjusted to the speed and style of the NFL and their quarterbacks as the game wore on. 

“It’s just a different type of mindset rushing in the NFL compared to college, especially with Jameis,” Bosa said. “He’s unbelievable at getting away from you. I have a lot to work on and just a mindset change but I learned a lot today and I’m really glad to get a win.

“That just goes with the first game and Jameis. He’s unbelievable. Big dude. You can’t arm tackle him. But we got to him when it counted and that’s what matters.” 

Bosa didn’t get his first NFL sack until the middle of the third quarter. He described it as exciting but was unable to celebrate it because of the timing. 

“It felt great,” Bosa said. “It was kind of a moment where we had to focus up. So I was like ‘Alright, no celebration, let’s just go.’ It was second down so we had another big play right after it so it was kind of anti-climactic but it was still nice to get it.” 

The 49ers defense was able to get Winston to the ground three times for a loss of 20 yards total, and had him under pressure much of the game. Bosa knew that if the line was able to get pressure on Winston, the Bucs QB would turn it over.

“Yeah, we knew he has a history of turnovers so we just tried to get in his face, stick hands in his face, whatever we could do,” Bosa said. “Close the pocket on him, make him feel suffocated and it turned out, what was it, four turnovers? Two picks? Three picks?” 

[RELATED: Grading 49ers' offense, defense after sloppy win over Bucs]

When Bosa was reminded of the 49ers' previous season where takeaways were less common, he actually laughed and cracked a joke. 

“That’s not normal for this team?” Bosa quipped. “Yeah, I’m just glad to be a part of a winning effort and I’m glad our defense is trending in the right way.” 

Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role


Kwon Alexander impressed with what he saw from Dre Greenlaw, stepping into his role

SANTA CLARA – In the locker room following the 49ers’ first loss of the season, veteran cornerback Richard Sherman preached to his teammates about using the 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks as a learning experience.

“Like Sherm said, it’s just what we needed,” 49ers rookie linebacker Dre Greenlaw said on The 49ers Insider Podcast.

The 49ers entered Monday night as the only unbeaten team in the NFL. They come out of the game with an 8-1 record, and a half-game lead over the Seahawks (8-2) in the NFC West.

“In this league, you’re never going undefeated. But at the same time, it’s a wake-up call," Greenlaw said. "It lets you know you can be beat any night. You got to bring your 'A game' every time. I think from here on out, a lot of guys are going to bring forward their best foot and play and execute and finish out the season strong.”

Greenlaw started Monday’s game in place of Kwon Alexander, who is out for the season after undergoing surgery last week to repair a torn pectoral. Greenlaw recorded eight tackles and had an interception of a Russell Wilson pass in overtime.

The play, along with Greenlaw’s 47-yard interception return, put the 49ers’ offense in position to win the game. But the offense stalled after gaining a first down, and rookie fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin shanked a 47-yard field goal attempt after making a kick of the same distance to force overtime on the final play of regulation.

“I knew Greenlaw was going to step in,” Alexander said. “I had no doubt about him. I saw it on his face when he first walked through the door.

“He’s been a tremendous rookie, doing everything right, working hard. He put a lot of extra film in this week and it all paid off. He got an interception. I’m proud of him. I’m happy for him. He’s a great young man.”

Greenlaw said he played with a lot of confidence because of the support he received on the field from middle linebacker Fred Warner, along with the encouragement Alexander gave him on the sideline.

“I made some mistakes, but I made some plays,” Greenlaw said. “I felt confident. I knew Fred was going to play his heart out, and he had my back. Having Kwon out there on the sideline, he brought us confidence. I felt good running around.”

Warner said Greenlaw stepped in and did as well as could be expected in taking over for Alexander.

“He honestly stepped in and did a great job,” Warner said of Greenlaw, a fifth-round pick from Arkansas. “I can’t say anything bad. Kwon is a seasoned vet, but Dre came out and played as such. He was communicating great. He got aligned.”

Warner had an exceptional game, as he recorded 10 tackles, including his first two NFL sacks. He forced a fumble that DeForest Buckner returned for a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

What can the 49ers take from this loss?

“Just learn from our mistakes, look at yourself in the mirror and see what you could’ve done and keep moving,” Warner said.

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

Why Jimmy Garoppolo sees 49ers' loss to Seahawks as 'reality check'

SANTA CLARA -- After the 49ers' heartbreaking 27-24 overtime loss to the Seattle Seahawks, quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was confident the offense didn't need a major overhaul to bounce back in Week 11.

Monday's loss at Levi's Stadium was Garoppolo's second-worst game of the season statistically. He completed just 24 of his 46 attempts for 248 yards, throwing one touchdown, one interception and posting a 66.2 passer rating. 

“I think I could throw the ball better, we could catch it better,” Garoppolo said Monday. “It’s a little bit of everything it’s not one specific thing that sticks out. It’s a bit of a reality check for us. We’ll go back and respond this week.”  

Players will never make injuries an excuse but Garoppolo lacked his top options Monday night. George Kittle, his No. 1 target, was inactive. Emmanuel Sanders, who had quickly become Garoppolo's second favorite pass-catcher, left the game in the first half with a rib injury.  

Coach Kyle Shanahan needed to make personnel adjustments during the game and had mixed results. While Deebo Samuel finished the night as the top receiver, catching eight of his 11 targets for 112 yards, Marquise Goodwin and Dante Pettis each failed to record a catch on three targets. 

“The receivers were battling,” Garoppolo said. “We had some injuries happen and people were being mixed and matched in different spots. But I thought overall those guys played well. We’ve just got to make plays when your number’s called.”

Shanahan credited the offense and his QB for making some good plays, but he said they were largely inconsistent. The 49ers trailed by 11 points headed into the fourth quarter, but Shanahan liked that his QB was not rattled facing his largest deficit of the season. 

“Jimmy doesn’t really change,” Shanahan said. “Jimmy is always the same, so there’s no difference there. I think like the whole offense, I thought he battled. I thought he battled very hard. Hung in the pocket for a while. I thought he made some big plays, but I know he made a number of plays he’d like to have back.”

Garoppolo already is looking forward to the week ahead to reduce the offense's mistakes going forward. The 49ers have a short turnaround, playing the Arizona Cardinals for the second time in three weeks Sunday. 

“It’s just about execution at the end of the day,” Garoppolo said. “It’s nothing crazy, just got to go do your job, execute and move on play after play and just do that throughout the entire game. We’ve been good at that, it just, we had a couple hiccups tonight. Just got to correct them and move on.”

[RELATED: McLaughlin tries to make sense of missed FG in 49ers' loss]

One thing that Garoppolo has no doubt about is that the 49ers will bounce back from their first loss of the season seamlessly. Most of the locker room has lived through two losing seasons under Shanahan, and the QB is confident his teammates will quickly shake off their disappointment.

“You go back and you watch the tape,” Garoppolo said. “You got to be critical on yourself. ‘What could we have done better? What caused this to happen?’ You’ve got to be hard on yourselves. I think we have a good group of guys in there with the right mindset who are going to come into work tomorrow and fight."