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, San Francisco 49ers. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

No. 9: Fred Warner has been a specialist for 49ers at forcing fumbles since his first NFL game

Fred Warner has been the defense’s play-caller since his first start against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 1 of 2018.

This wasn’t the only first Warner had in that game. Warner also forced his first fumble.

Warner has forced four fumbles in his first two seasons, with three of those in 2019.

Every time Warner goes to make a tackle, he is always trying to punch the ball out. When the 2020 season starts and you watch the 49ers play the Arizona Cardinals in Week 1 and you see Warner go and make a tackle, watch his arms to see him try and punch the ball out and force a fumble.

Against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 10 in 2019, DeForest Buckner recovered a fumble and returned a forced fumble for a touchdown. But who created that opportunity and forced that fumble? Yes, of course, you’ve already guessed it.

Warner, as you can see in this play breakdown here.

The Niners sent nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams on a blitz off of the defense’s left edge. Williams was picked up by the Seahawks running back — well, the running back tried to block Williams, thus putting Seahawks quarterback under increasing pressure.

With pressure in Seahawks quarterback Russel Wilson’s face, incredibly strangely, one of the Seahawks offensive linemen decided to take the ball out of Wilson’s hands. With Warner going after the ball, just like any linebacker worth his salt, and targeting the ball.

Warner went to punch the ball out, and he didn’t even try and tackle the offensive lineman and succeeded punching the ball out.

Warner was the reason that the 49ers made that fourth-quarter comeback against the Seahawks.