No. 2: 49ers Pass Blocking Isn’t Equal to the Challenge
A key theme for many an NFL defense now is to have two quality edge rushers. The 49ers are implementing this in 2019, bringing aboard EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, and the results have been notable, even if the sack totals aren’t setting records.
But the Browns have two prolific outside pass-rushers, too, Olivier Vernon and Myles Garrett.
This tandem has a combined seven sacks between them and 12 quarterback hits, with Garrett’s six sacks ranking second among league leaders to date.
San Francisco managed to hold its own against the blitz-happy Steelers in Week 3, surrendering just one sack on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. But the Browns don’t blitz anywhere near as often, meaning another player-plus will be back in coverage, and Cleveland will rely more on its two quality pass-rushers off the outside.
Interestingly enough, Football Outsiders ranks the 49ers offensive line first in pass protection through four weeks, albeit with one less game for the Niners.
But that doesn’t mean there’s zero room for concern.
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey has been credited with one of those sacks, per Pro Football Focus, while fill-in left tackle Justin Skule has been charged with two quarterback pressures in one game, along with three penalties against.
Garrett, one of the league’s best pass-rushers, going against Skule, who is making his second NFL start, will be one of the key deciding factors Monday night.