SF 49ers would make playoffs if these 5 players stayed healthy

Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, SF 49ers
Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

Injuries derailed the SF 49ers’ 2020 quest to get into the postseason, and these five, in particular, were felt more than others.

2020 is going to be a “what could have been?” year for the SF 49ers, who watched their already-dim postseason hopes take a crippling blow in Week 14 when they lost to the Washington Football Team 23-15.

Now at 5-8, the best head coach Kyle Shanahan’s squad can hope for is a three-game sweep over the Dallas Cowboys, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks, which doesn’t seem likely even though the No. 7 seed in the NFC playoff picture is still very much up for grabs.

Yet the reality of the situation paints a picture of one setback after another, inevitably leading up to the very real chance the Niners finish the year as a sub-.500 team and fall way short of their goal of getting back to the Super Bowl.

There have been a lot of those setbacks, none bigger than the sheer number of injuries suffered over the course of the season. San Francisco already has a league-high 18 players on injured reserve, and they’ve used the IR designation 41 times, second only to the Baltimore Ravens’ 45.

Although the Ravens don’t come anywhere close to the SF 49ers in terms of player games lost.

Considering the magnitude of the Niners season and all the “what ifs?”, it’s safe to assume San Francisco would be in the playoffs if these three players stayed healthy in 2020.

No. 5: SF 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa

Few teams can overcome losses of their best offensive and defensive player in the same season and then expect a postseason game. But that’s what the SF 49ers are going through, especially after losing their top defender, EDGE Nick Bosa, to a season-ending ACL tear in Week 2 against the NY Jets.

Granted, the Niners defense has been shockingly good this year despite the swarm of injuries. Through 14 weeks, coordinator Robert Saleh’s unit has given up the league’s fifth-fewest yards (4,109) and owns the league’s fifth-best pass defense despite missing other key defenders like cornerback Richard Sherman and safety Jaquiski Tartt for large chunks of the year.

Yet the defense still isn’t good enough to overcome San Francisco’s offensive shortcomings. In fairness, few defenses could do that.

But Bosa, the 2019 Defensive Rookie of the Year, could have been that switch to make the SF 49ers defense go from “good” to “elite,” sparking what has been an otherwise anemic pass rush and making opposing offenses’ lives hell.

The Niners offense might have been boring this year anyway, but Bosa’s presence could have meant a carryover of last year’s phenomenal defense into 2020.