Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga named PFT’s defensive player of the week

Oct 5, 2022 at 8:57 AM--

The NFL named Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick the NFC Defensive Player of the Week for Week 4's slate of games. Buffalo Bills safety Jordan Poyer won the honor on the AFC side.

San Francisco 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga was probably considered for the NFC award, and many feel that he should have won the weekly honor. Hufanga was one of seven 49ers who played all 74 defensive snaps during Monday night's 24-9 win over the Los Angeles Rams. He registered four tackles and a pass defensed. However, the young safety's most memorable play was his interception off Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, which was returned for a 52-yard touchdown, sealing the win for the Bay Area squad.

Hufanga allowed only two receptions for 19 yards when targeted by Stafford, with nine of those yards coming after the catch. The second-year safety is having an impressive 2022 campaign and is currently Pro Football Focus' highest-graded (84.6) defensive back among players with at least 50 percent of their team's defensive snaps.

Hufanga may have missed out on being named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, but Pro Football Talk bestowed him with their own defensive player of the week award.

"He's already drawing comparisons to Hall of Famer Troy Polamau, and not because of the hair," wrote Mike Florio. "Hufanga has an innate knack for knowing where to be and when to be there, like he was on Monday night. Get used to seeing more of the same from Hufanga."

Defensive end Nick Bosa was also a finalist for the Pro Football Talk award, while wide receiver Deebo Samuel was a finalist for the news and rumor site's offensive player of the week. That award ultimately went to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith, who also won NFC Offensive Player of the Week.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was a finalist for coach of the week, but New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh, Shanahan's former defensive coordinator, beat him out.

Hufanga and his 49ers defense are preparing for a two-game road trip, starting with the Carolina Panthers this weekend and concluding with a Week 6 battle against the Atlanta Falcons.

On Tuesday, Shanahan praised Hufanga's preparation, comparing it to Bosa's in how he uses each practice rep to his advantage.

"And he's a talented guy, but when you can add that part, that aspect to it, someone who really is living and dying it all the time, it really carries over to their game," Shanahan said. "And they're not just practicing. They're not just taking reps. They're getting better with each rep and the more deliberate and intent you can have and focus you can have in anything, to me, is what allows people to be great. And he's one of those guys who I think is kind of elite in that type of area."


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