Dee Ford

Nick Bosa seals 49ers' win with sack, then slip-and-slide celebration

Nick Bosa seals 49ers' win with sack, then slip-and-slide celebration

FedEx Field was wet, rainy, muddy and full of sloppy football Sunday. It also was the home of another 49ers win and another sack from Nick Bosa. 

The rookie sealed San Francisco's 9-0 win over Washington by sacking quarterback Case Keenum in the game's final seconds, and proceeded with the perfect celebration. 

Bosa turned the field into his own personal Slip 'N Slide before being joined by teammates DeForest Buckner, Dee Ford and Arik Armstead. 

The sack and the celebration were just two more examples of Bosa already looking like a star for the 49ers. He ended the game with seven tackles -- four for loss -- one quarterback hit and his fourth sack this season. 

San Francisco's defense finished the day with three sacks and seven tackles for loss. Washington totaled just 154 yards as it fell to 1-6 on the season.

Bill Callahan says Washington will 'need a lot of help' with 49ers' D-line

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Bill Callahan says Washington will 'need a lot of help' with 49ers' D-line

Bill Callahan is a perfect 1-0 as Washington's interim coach since taking over for the fired Jay Gruden. But he knows facing the undefeated 49ers will be a bit different than going up against the winless Miami Dolphins.

That's especially true when it comes to San Francisco's defensive line. Callahan knows his offense could be in for a long day if they don't have a great game in the trenches. 

“Yeah, the challenge is great,” Callahan said in a conference call with reporters on Wednesday. “And the matchups, yeah, we’re going to need a lot of help, to say the least.”

The 49ers' defense ranks second in yards allowed per game (237.4), first in passing yards allowed per game (150.2), sixth in rushing yards allowed per game (87.2) and second in points allowed per game (12.8). Washington, on the other hand, has one of the worst offenses in the NFL. Through six weeks, they rank 28th in yards per game (286.5), 26th in passing yards per game (205), 25th in rushing yards per game (81.5) and 30th in points per game (15). 

San Francisco's defensive line is stacked with former first-round draft picks, while Washington's best offensive lineman -- Trent Williams -- has sat out the whole season so far over a contract dispute. 

Whether it's Nick Bosa, Dee Ford, DeForest Buckner or Arik Armstead, the 49ers can attack the QB in multiple ways. Callahan knows he can't focus on just one player. 

“When they line up across the board, there’s just not one individual you can hone in on,” Callahan said. “Like when we played the Bears, you have Khalil Mack that you’re focused on. But this is a little bit different because there’s so much quality depth and outstanding players.

[RELATED: Bosa, Ford have been NFL's most productive pass rushers]

"It will be a real challenge for our protection unit.”

The 49ers have 17 sacks this year, and will look to increase that number on Sunday.

49ers' improved pass defense evident during undefeated start to 2019

49ers' improved pass defense evident during undefeated start to 2019

A year -- and some roster tweaks -- have made all the difference for the 49ers' pass defense. 

San Francisco drafted Nick Bosa No. 2 overall this spring, traded for edge rusher Dee Ford and signed linebacker Kwon Alexander. With a much-improved front seven, the 49ers' standing pat in the secondary looks shrewd as the defense as a whole has coalesced into one of the NFL's best units. Their improvement defending opponents' passing attacks is especially stark, as Pro Football Focus' Jeff Deeney observed Tuesday morning. 

Last season, the 49ers defense ranked 31st, 10th, 13th and 32nd in those aforementioned categories. San Francisco is second, second, third and third, respectively, in them headed into Week 7 this season. 

The 49ers' road ahead will become more difficult down the stretch, however. Of the eight remaining opponents San Francisco has not yet played this season, six rank in the top 15 in passing yards per game. Those teams haven't necessarily faced a defensive front as formidable as the 49ers', though, and San Francisco's dominance against Jared Goff and the Rams' Sean McVay-coached offense bodes well for the rest of the 49ers' schedule. 

The improvement is not just owed to the 49ers' defensive line or the team's offseason additions, either. Their depth has played a big role, too. Jimmie Ward missed the 49ers' first three games with an injury, but he arguably has been the defense's most important player in the last two wins. Ahkello Witherspoon has not played since Week 3, but San Francisco hasn't missed a beat with Emmanuel Moseley starting in his absence. 

[RELATED: Why gap between 49ers, Rams won't close after Ramsey trade]

The 49ers are clicking at every level of the defense, and it's possible they move up the NFL's statistical rankings in the next few weeks. They play lowly Washington in Week 7 and host Kyle Allen -- or Cam Newton -- and the Carolina Panthers in Week 8. Both teams' passing offenses rank in the bottom third of the league. 

In other words, the 49ers might just be getting started.