The San Francisco 49ers may have found their way in the NFC Championship game due to a tremendous offense led by George Kittle and Christian McCaffrey, but the defense has been arguably the best in the entire NFL. Fred Warner roving the middle has been one of the main reasons why.
Warner, who is asked to do a ton by defensive coordinator and head coach candidate DeMeco Ryans, has been named a First-Team All-Pro performer for the second time in his five-year career.
With how much the Philadelphia Eagles like to run the ball and challenge the opposing team’s linebackers, Warner and Dre Greenlaw are going to be under a microscope all game long. The afternoon started off about as poorly as possible for the BYU alu.
Warner appeared to get his arm caught up underneath running back Miles Sanders. Warner left the game for a few plays with a stinger, but he quickly returned. San Francisco didn’t stand much of a chance against a loaded Philadelphia offense without him.
Fred Warner injury update: 49ers LB returns vs. Eagles
Warner recorded 130 tackles and two sacks this season, extending his streak of five consecutive seasons with 110 tackles at minimum. With his football IQ and range in coverage, Warner plugs so many holes that even other high-end linebackers simply struggle to fill.
The good news for the 49ers is that Warner came right back in the game after just a few plays. While having Warner at 70% is better than most linebackers in the league at 100%, it is very clear that he is going to be just a tick or two below his usual elite standard.
Unfortunately, getting Warner back did not help the 49ers stop Philly on their opening drive. Devonta Smith submitted his catch of the year entry with a ridiculous twisting grab on fourth down before Sanders punched it in from a few yards out. Let’s see what you got, Brock Purdy.
The 49ers need a complete team effort if they are going to turn the momentum in their favor and take down a favored Philadelphia team on the road. Warner will be instrumental in shutting down Jalen Hurts and Philly’s high-speed offense.