2022 NFL playoffs: 49ers biggest studs, duds from Wild Card win

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /
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Ezekiel Elliott, Jimmie Ward, Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49ers
Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers free safety Jimmie Ward (1) Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /

49ers Stud: The defense

This is arguably the best unit on the field at any given time, specifically the front seven, and every member of the defensive front made an impact. The fire was led by defensive end Nick Bosa, who some would argue, was fueled by an All-Pro snub only two days earlier.

The defense was the healthiest it had been all year, and it showed on every play. The 49ers defense held quarterback Dak Prescott and the No. 1-ranked offense to just 17 points.

That’s close to half of their league-leading average of 31.2 points per game.

The No. 6-ranked defense got to work early creating a season-high 22 team pressures and five quarterback sacks.

Related Story: Niners game grades from hard-nosed Wild Card win over Cowboys

Unfortunately for the 49ers, not every play was a positive one. Bosa went down with a concussion right before the half and left for the locker room, and his status for next week is currently unknown. Later on in the fourth quarter, linebacker Fred Warner suffered an ankle injury. That’s two big losses amid a big win for the San Francisco defense.

Luckily for the Niners, they are abundant with depth along the front seven. Defensive end Charles Omenihu and interior lineman D.J. Jones provided the much-needed push up the middle the defense needed in Bosa’s absence.

If San Francisco’s defense continues to play 60 minutes in this way, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are going to have their hands full.