Hufanga believes 49ers can't overthink takeaway issues


Talanoa Hufanga was a turnover machine in his final college season at USC, intercepting four passes and forcing two fumbles in just six games. The rookie will be making his first career NFL start for the 49ers on Sunday, and explains why he believes the defense can't overthink their struggles with forcing takeaways in 2021.

"You know, that's a funny thing that happened is I found myself, in college, the first couple years, not creating a lot of turnovers," Hufanga said. "You kind of think in your head, 'Oh I want the interception, I want the turnover,' but my junior year is when I started to just let things happen.

"You never want to wish for something because then you're probably going to get scored on. So when you let things come to you and play the game naturally and be very instinctive, things start to [happen]. Hopefully, we can create lots of turnovers because, obviously, we hadn't created a bunch. But hopefully, they come in bunches, as we like to say. But first and foremost, we've got to stop the run and then create turnovers like you said."

Hufanga will start Sunday as Jaquiski Tartt deals with a bone bruise in his knee. Through the 49ers' first six games, Hufanga has seen most of his action on special teams, playing 79 percent of the team's special teams snaps.

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The fifth-round draft pick did see 34 snaps after Tartt went down in the 49ers' sloppy Week 7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.


The Chicago Bears have turned the ball over 10 times this season, placing them 22nd among NFL teams. The 49ers have just four takeaways through six games and haven't intercepted an opponent since Week 1.

As Hufanga said, hopefully, the 49ers can turn that number around and force turnovers against a team that had five in its last game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

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