San Francisco 49ers: 5 storylines you did not expect in 2019

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Brandin Cooks, Ahkello Witherspoon, Rams, 49ers

Wide receiver Brandin Cooks #12 of the Los Angeles Rams and cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon #23 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

No. 2: 49ers Pass Defense Would Be Dominant

It would have been safe to assume the 49ers pass rush would be significantly improved in 2019, thanks to the offseason additions of EDGEs Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. And it has been, for sure.

But what’s been a crazier development is how the pass rush has positively affected nearly every other aspect of San Francisco’s passing defense, particularly the secondary. Remember, coming into this season, Pro Football Focus ranked the Niners defensive backfield No. 29 on the year after finishing 2018 dead last in the same ranking.

It’ll be interesting to see how PFF ranks this same position group at the end of this season.

It’s important to note just how “hand in glove” the NFL is, and the intertwining of parts is necessary for one unit to have success because of another. That’s clearly going on here.

Still, few likely would have predicted San Francisco to be this good defending against the pass in 2019. Through 16 weeks, the 49ers still own the No. 1 pass defense, allowing an average of just 155.3 pass yards per game.

That’s elite-level status, and few would have guessed the Niners would have given up so few yards through the air back when the defense had so many question marks entering the season.

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