3 49ers who need to step up vs. Lions in NFC Championship game

The 49ers barely escaped with a victory against the Packers, but if they want to beat the Lions in the NFC Championship game, these three players will have to step up for the team in a big way.

NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages
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Chase Young
NFC Divisional Playoffs - Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers / Ryan Kang/GettyImages

1. Defensive End Chase Young

The 49ers trading for defensive end Chase Young came at a pivotal point in the season. They were reeling coming off of three straight losses, and it was not clear what kind of football team they were going to be after the bye week.

Trading for Young added some much-needed excitement and a boost to a defense that looked tired and sluggish during their losses. The defense looked good after the 49ers got Young, but looking back that may have had more to do with some of their other players getting rest rather than Young being a complete game-changer.

To be fair, Young has not played horribly for San Francisco. However, it would be fair to say he has been a bit of a disappointment.

In nine games with the Niners, Young has had 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hits. Compared to the seven games he played with the Washington Commanders earlier in the year where he had five sacks and eight QB hits, those seem like fairly paltry numbers.

The 49ers were certainly hoping that they would get a more prolific version of Chase Young, especially since he was reuniting with his former Ohio State teammate in Nick Bosa.

With the injury to Clelin Ferrell, who was the starter even after Young was acquired, Young was forced to start against the Packers. He needs to step up his game against a Lions offensive line that is considered one of the best in the NFL.

However, the Lions offensive line will be banged up. They will likely be without their left guard Jonah Jackson and their center Frank Ragnow is dealing with an injury.

While the entire defensive line will be responsible for stopping the run and getting pressure on Jared Goff, Young is in a position to shine since most of the attention will be on Bosa.

It is time for Young to step up in a big way and prove why San Francisco went out and traded for him earlier in the year.