Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports


Baldy praises 49ers’ Talanoa Hufanga, makes comparison to Hall of Fame safety

Sep 13, 2022 at 10:00 AM--



Safety Talanoa Hufanga was Pro Football Focus' highest-graded player in Sunday's matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears. NFL analyst Brian Baldinger doesn't pay attention to grades from analytics sites. Instead, he relies on his eyes and knowledge of the game to evaluate players. However, it sounds like Baldinger agrees with Pro Football Focus' assessment.

It wasn't a perfect game for Hufanga, though. The safety was involved in the scoring touchdown from Bears quarterback Justin Fields to wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown. Baldinger doesn't feel the play was entirely his fault, though.

"Hufanga was really frozen on the touchdown to Equanimeous St. Brown because he had to be," Baldinger said. "There were two other receivers in the middle of the field. He's the free safety. But I give Justin Fields credit. He looked him off, kind of held him, and then when he threw the ball over the top, there was a little bit of a breakdown there."

Other than some obvious miscues, Baldinger was impressed by the 49ers defense, considering the conditions they played in over the weekend. The unit entered the season with most expecting it to be among the league's best.

"I'm just watching this defense going, 'They are so freaking good,'" Baldinger noted.

It was the second-year safety who stood out, though.

"Hufanga was unreal," Baldinger said. "The plays that that guy makes, he kind of reminds you a little bit—I don't want to make any comparisons to Hall of Famers—he reminds you of Troy Polamalu, the way he plays. He's in the backfield. He's aggressive. He gets underneath the offensive linemen. He sticks his head in everywhere. He's going to be a really good player."

The 49ers made Hufanga a fifth-round draft pick out of USC last year. He finished Sunday's matchup with a game-high and career-high 11 tackles, adding two tackles for a loss, an interception, and a pass defensed.

You can listen to Baldinger's assessment of Sunday's game below.

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