San Francisco 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa (97) Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
All eyes are on 49ers EDGE Nick Bosa’s injury status in the lead-up to the Niners’ NFC divisional-round matchup with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
San Francisco 49ers star edge rusher Nick Bosa‘s progression through the NFL’s concussion protocol will be crucial in determining the outcome of the team’s NFC divisional round showdown with the Green Bay Packers.
Also working against the Niners is the timing of the game, Saturday evening as opposed to Sunday, which provides the third-year Pro Bowler with one less day to recover from his head injury.
Bosa sustained a concussion when he was tackled into fellow defensive lineman D.J. Jones by Dallas Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins, who was beaten badly on the play:
Bosa is an integral part of the 49ers’ defense, which functions at its peak — and best hides its deficiencies — when the defensive line can pressure the quarterback without blitzing extra defenders.
With Bosa sidelined, the Niners’ pass rush made do with everything they had, as all nine of the 49ers’ active defensive linemen were on the field for over 20 defensive snaps. Defensive end Charles Omenihu, acquired via mid-season trade, surprisingly led the charge in Bosa’s absence, as the ex-Houston Texan racked up 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and three quarterback hits.
However, without the 49ers’ top edge rusher on the field, the previously inept Cowboys offense sprang to life, and nearly tripled their meager first-half production over the final two quarters of play.
In addition to Bosa’s absence, Dallas took advantage of the Niners’ overall lackluster second-half performance, led by a coaching staff seemingly playing not to lose. Although they ran out of time, the Cowboys challenged the Niners until the final second of the contest, in what would have been one of the largest comebacks in NFL playoff history.