3 biggest takeaways from SF 49ers Week 14 loss to Washington
By Peter Panacy
No. 1: Offensive line is the SF 49ers’ biggest offseason need
Nick Mullens bears a lot of the blame for what happened in Week 14. But he’s not alone.
In many ways, Washington is constructing its defense in a similar fashion as the SF 49ers have in recent seasons, focusing on the defensive line first and worrying about the second and third levels later.
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Sunday’s outcome proved it’s working, as Mullens was sacked four times and hit a whopping 12 times.
Rookie EDGE Chase Young took over the contest, too, registering one of those sacks while forcing a fumble, knocking down two passes and recovering a fumble and returning it for a touchdown.
None of this speaks favorably for the Niners offensive line.
Young and fellow Washington EDGE Montez Sweat abused San Francisco’s O-line with regularity, while right tackle Mike McGlinchey continued to be a problem in pass protection. It might be prudent for the SF 49ers to explore long-term replacements for him this offseason, as there are clearly no on-roster options available here. Left tackle Trent Williams, the unit’s best overall player, is also a pending free agent and will be expensive, while the center position has been a revolving door in the wake of injuries to Weston Richburg and Ben Garland.
All those have had a massive trickle-down effect, making the O-line the Niners’ biggest issue this season.
If San Francisco spent the bulk of its offseason efforts addressing it, it wouldn’t be an offseason wasted.