Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers DT Javon Kinlaw discusses first sack, defensive performance

Nov 15, 2020 at 7:23 PM--

49ers defensive tackle and first-round draft pick Javon Kinlaw hasn't yet put up the type of numbers he produced during his college career at the University of South Carolina, but he took a step towards changing that during the 49ers' 27-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.

Kinlaw notched his first NFL sack in the third quarter of the game against the Saints when he took down Taysom Hill, then improved upon that number later in the game when he combined for a sack with defensive end Jordan Willis. He didn't seem too impressed with the sack when speaking to reporters after the game, which might be expected considering he had ten of them over his final two seasons with the Gamecocks.

"I mean, it's just one," Kinlaw said. "Just one. Just one."

Still, it was nice to see Kinlaw get that first sack in the record books. Kinlaw actually fell to the ground on the play after fighting off a block from Nick Easton but was still able to bring Hill down in the process.

"I was just rushing, just rushing, just rushing, seeing the quarterback," Kinlaw said. "I was getting held a little bit, they tried to pull me the ground. But I guess I can bend like that, so I just came around the corner, tried to finish the play."

Kinlaw's performance on Sunday was part of a solid effort for the defense, which for much of the game was able to keep the offense within striking distance despite being put into tough situations as a result of turnovers.

"I feel like as a defense, as a whole, we played very aggressive today, very assertive," Kinlaw said. "We went out there and established dominance. Chips fall in people's other corner sometimes. We've just got to go back to the drawing board."

The game against the Saints will go down as one of the best of Kinlaw's rookie season, which has had some good moments but hasn't had the amount of highlight plays fans were treated to last year from 2019 first-round pick Nick Bosa.

"I feel like all season plays have been there but sometimes I'm just a step off," Kinlaw said. "I feel like everything was firing today. I made plays when it counted. Just going to try to keep it rolling, that kind of stuff."

Perhaps Kinlaw's sack will be the first of many more highlights to come. His teammates see the same type of potential the front office saw when it selected him in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft, and now that potential could be starting to show up more in the stat sheet.

"In the game he's an aggressive guy," defensive end Kerry Hyder said after the loss in New Orleans. "The sky's the limit for him. I was just really happy for him today. He was able to get on the board with one. I just know each week he's getting better and better. He's going to get scary for people."

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