49ers vs. Lions: How did Nick Bosa, Dee Ford perform in Week 1 win?
By Peter Panacy
The 49ers got impressive efforts from their top two pass-rushers, Nick Bosa and Dee Ford, in the team’s Week 1 win over the Lions.
Edge rushers Nick Bosa and Dee Ford combined make a world of difference for the San Francisco 49ers defense.
Niners fans know this too well. After seeing the potential back when the two were on the field in 2019, then watching as both suffered season-ending injuries by Week 2 of 2020, it’s understandable why the highly anticipated return of both players for 2021 was going to be a massive storyline.
And neither player disappointed against the Detroit Lions in Week 1.
49ers get one sack apiece from Nick Bosa, Dee Ford
Bosa found himself frequently matched up against Lions rookie offensive tackle Penei Sewell, who bumped over from the right side in the wake of veteran left tackle Taylor Decker being out with a hand injury.
For the most part, Sewell accounted well for himself. But it was only a matter time before Bosa recorded his first sack since the 2019 season, pulling down Detroit quarterback Jared Goff for an 8-yard loss in the fourth quarter.
In total, Bosa had four tackles, three of which were for a loss, the sack and two quarterback hits. He also pancaked Sewell on one of his quarterback pressures, too.
Not to be outdone, Ford was also impressive in his first game back since Week 1 last year, picking up a sack and two quarterback hits:
That sack eventually led to a Lions punt, and San Francisco managed to tack on a field goal on its following possession before halftime.
Nick Bosa, Dee Ford both felt good in 49ers 2021 debut
It’s certainly understandable to worry about both players’ health after missing almost all of 2020. And in Bosa’s case, he was limited in training camp and didn’t partake in preseason games at all.
“It was great,” Bosa told reporters after the game. “It’s always good to be back on the field with the team and just back in the routine. I love this team, so it’s always an honor to play with them.”
Bosa, who reportedly could have been on a “pitch count” during the game, was regularly out on defense until being pulled late in the fourth quarter, only to be inserted again when the Lions were attempting a valiant comeback attempt.
And it certainly didn’t appear as if he’d lost a step.
Related Story: Dee Ford is key to getting 49ers back in playoff contention
Ford, meanwhile, showcased the kind of speed that made him such a high-profile player back in his days with the Kansas City Chiefs before being traded to the 49ers in 2019.
Ford said during his postgame presser:
"I felt pretty confident going into the game. That’s one thing I wanted to do was be able to start fast. It was my biggest goal heading into this game, so I was able to get some work done really in those first couple of rushes. That’s really what you want to do. Those first few rushes set up the rest of the game."
While Bosa was impressive, Ford’s speed and get-off were certainly impressive, too. Even though Ford was flagged for one offsides penalty.
Nevertheless, the Niners have to be feeling their 2021 defensive line is looking a lot like the 2019 version when both Ford and Bosa were making a massive impact.
Other concerns elsewhere on the defense? Yes. But the D-line showed up in a big way, thanks to Bosa and Ford.