49ers film room: Why Fred Warner is already a top 3 linebacker

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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Fred Warner, 49ers
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images) /

No. 2: Even though the 49ers defense wasn’t as dominant at the end of the regular season as it was at the start, they still produced turnovers and game-changing plays

Seven weeks after his dropped pick-six in Week 9 against the Cardinals, Fred Warner finally recorded his first pick-six against the Rams in Week 16.

Warner has developed a knack for coming up huge in divisional games, recording two sacks, one forced fumble, three passes defended and one pick-six in six games against the 49ers’ NFC West rivals. That is incredible production for any linebacker, let alone a second-year third-round selection out of BYU.

On this play against the Rams, the Niners were in man coverage, which Rams head coach Sean McVay admitted after the game he knew the 49ers were in man coverage, but that didn’t stop Jared Goff from throwing the ball to the one player McVay didn’t want Goff to throw it to, the running back.

Warner had the running back in man coverage, and with the running back going out on a swing pass, Warner closed quickly. Goff, perhaps still having nightmares of the Niners defensive line man-handling Los Angeles back in Wee 6, feeling the pressure, dumped the ball off to his check down.

Well, Goff thought he had, but he had just gift-wrapped the 49ers a pick-six.

Warner, this time, caught the ball, steadied himself before walking into the end zone for his first pick-six in the NFL.