What Week 3 win vs. Giants told us about SF 49ers makeshift pass rush

Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants hit by D.J. Jones #93 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Daniel Jones #8 of the New York Giants hit by D.J. Jones #93 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers managed a good enough pass rush against the NY Giants in Week 3 sans Nick Bosa and Dee Ford. Niner Noise breaks it down.

The SF 49ers pass rush wasn’t quite good enough in the team’s 36-9 Week 3 win over the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium to make fans say, “Nick Bosa who?”

But it was still pretty effective enough.

Granted, the Niners were going up against quarterback Daniel Jones and a Giants offense without its top offensive weapon, running back Saquon Barkley (knee), and its top wide receiver, Sterling Shepard (toe). And the G-Men were averaging a mere 5.5 pass yards per attempt entering Week 3 anyway, which ranked 27th in the league.

Despite season-ending injuries to Bosa and fellow defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, as well as EDGE Dee Ford still out with a back injury, San Francisco was still able to engineer a good enough pass rush against Jones and New York’s passing game, holding him to a mere 179 yards through the air, an interception thrown and a 56.6 passer rating.

The SF 49ers managed two sacks on Jones, each recorded by depth edge rushers Kerry Hyder and Dion Jordan.

Hyder, in particular, showed up in a major way for the Niners defense, finishing the game with the sack and three quarterback hits. If it wasn’t for Jones rushing some throws, one of which was the interception picked off by linebacker Fred Warner, Hyder’s sack total could have been much higher.

And with Bosa and Ford out, the focus will be on Hyder to generate as much pass rush as possible in coming weeks.

SF 49ers will focus more effort on the blitz

Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh didn’t rely much on the blitz in 2019, sending an extra rusher just 20.9 percent of the time, which ranked fourth fewest.

But Saleh called for a few more blitzes against Jones and the Giants offense, often sending nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams as an extra rusher out of the slot, not unlike what Niner Noise’s Rory Humphrey suggested could happen in his defensive film breakdown of Week 2’s win over the New York Jets.

Going forward, it’s likely Saleh will call more upon blitz packages, although it’s questionable whether or not that’ll be more effective against teams with deeper wide receiver crops.

It certainly worked against the G-Men, though.

Hyder, Jordan and the rest of San Francisco’s defense will not shift their focus to the Philadelphia Eagles, who have already surrendered a whopping 11 sacks over their first three games of the season.

Perhaps the blitz pressure is another X-factor for the Niners there, too, although it’s likely players like Hyder and Jordan will have to pick up the slack when Saleh calls for more players in coverage than involved in the pass rush.

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Fortunately, at least the SF 49ers showed they can get by without their once-elite pass rush.