49ers DE Nick Bosa making run at records, awards

49ers DE Nick Bosa making run at records, awards

SANTA CLARA — As the sacks and pressures continue to pile up each week and the records and awards come closer to reality, Nick Bosa feels like a can’t-miss shooter.

The San Francisco 49ers star quarterback has been in pretty good territory this year, leading the NFL in sacks and leading the league’s top defense.

“I feel like I have an answer for every type of blocker at this point,” Bosa said. “Some better than others, obviously, but it’s going well.”

This is very underrated.

According to Pro Football Focus, Bosa leads the NFL with 17 1/2 sacks despite missing one game and is tied for second in the league with 78 quarterback pressures.

Bosa’s impact goes far beyond the numbers for the first-place 49ers (11-4) as his mere presence affects what offenses can do against a defense that leads the league in fewest points allowed, yards per game allowed and yards per carry allowed.

San Francisco has also allowed the fourth-lowest passer rating and is tied for the seventh-most sacks this season.

“It’s crazy the level he’s playing at,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “That’s a big reason why our defense is working the way it is because we know it takes all 11, the rush and the coverage working together and knowing that he’s on the field and has that opportunity to go to home, you become more sticky in coverage. and you’re able to sit in the street and he’s just playing out of his mind.”

Bosa’s game puts him within two sacks of tying Aldon Smith’s franchise record set in 2012 and five shy of the NFL record of 22 1/2 held by TJ Watt and Michael Strahan.

He also has him as the overwhelming favorite, according to FanDuel Sportsbook, to join Deion Sanders (1994) and Dana Stubblefield (1997) as the only 49ers to win the AP Defensive Player of the Year award.

“This is a dream,” Bosa said. “I’ve been playing this game since I was 7 years old and I played D-line all the way. I’ve watched guys throughout the years and I just wanted to be in that position. I finally feel like I’m kind of living out my dream.”

Bosa has been a nightmare for the offense.

He lines up on both sides of the line to take advantage of favorable matchups and make it much more difficult to game plan against opposing offenses.

Almost no team has been able to slow him down outside of the Chiefs, who used sweeps and jet sweeps to slow him down, and the Buccaneers, who had Tom Brady getting rid of the ball quickly.

Bosa has at least five pressures in nine of his 14 games and is the fourth player since sacks were made official in 1982 to record at least one in 12 games in a season.

Niners tight end George Kittle said Bosa should be in the running for the MVP award as well as the Defensive Player of the Year.

“I wouldn’t want to be a tight end that has to play against him,” Kittle said. “He’s better than everybody else. He’s a better athlete. He’s stronger, he’s faster. He’s so smart. The moves he makes, he’s so creative. He’s so good at getting hands off offensive linemen. His effort is always there. When Bosa gets a sack, he just lights up the whole team.”

NOTES: Bosa missed practice due to an illness but is expected to return later this week. … WR Deebo Samuel (knee, ankle) could return to practice Thursday depending on how well he responds to a practice Wednesday. … DT Javon Kinlaw was given a day off after the Niners relieved him in his return from a knee injury. … DT Kevin Givens (knee), P Mitch Wishnowsky (illness) and LT Trent Williams (rest) also missed practice.

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