No 2: Vikings receiver Adam Thielen had a breakout game against the Saints. The 49ers secondary must keep their eyes on him to avoid giving up huge plays.
Everyone knows that when it comes to the playoffs and the road to Super Bowl LIV, everything accomplished from the regular season doesn’t mean a whole lot. It’s best on best, win or go home. All the clichés are thrown into the mix, but they aren’t lies.
The San Francisco 49ers had the top-ranked pass defense in the regular season. They’ll be put to the test against wide receiver Adam Thielen.
Despite being officially listed as questionable for Saturday afternoon’s matchup, Thielen will still need to be a focal point for the 49ers until he’s ruled out.
For much of the season, Thielen was dealing with an ankle injury. Nevertheless, if Thielen is in the lineup, he’ll be a major threat through the air.
In 10 games played, he made 30 catches for 418 yards and six touchdowns. Despite his lowest numbers in four years, he still has two seasons of over 1,000 yards, and has been voted to the Pro Bowl twice.
Thielen averages just under 14 yards per reception. Basically, any time he catches the ball, there’s a chance it’s going for a first down or more.
Here’s an example of it:
Thielen is a quick athlete. His breakaway speed is highlighted on his 43-yard, clutch overtime catch above. The play was pretty simple. Cousins faked the handoff and Thielen just had to run his route. The secondary wasn’t ready to match his speed.
Whomever covers Thielen in the 49ers secondary will have to get ready to run a marathon with him. If he’s healthy and playing on Saturday afternoon, he’ll be a major threat to the 49ers secondary.