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Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Should the 49ers rest Nick Bosa against the Falcons?

Rohan Chakravarthi
Oct 15, 2022 at 12:00 PM--

Yesterday, fellow 49ers Webzone writer Wayne Breezie composed an article expressing his belief that the 49ers should rest star edge rusher Nick Bosa against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 6.

With the game starting in under 24 hours, let's examine the situation and dig deeper into whether the 49ers should sit Bosa, and what the repercussions might be.

Last week, Bosa suffered a groin injury in the first half against the Carolina Panthers, which sidelined him for the remainder of the game, as the 49ers erred on the side of caution.

This week, it initially seemed as if Bosa would not play, as the star edge rusher did not participate on Wednesday or Thursday. However, he returned to the practice field on Friday in a limited fashion, earning himself a questionable diagnosis heading into Sunday's affair against the Falcons.

Many have suggested that the difficulty of the matchup should be the primary reason that Bosa sits against the Falcons, especially due to San Francisco's Week 7 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

But, as Week 1 against the Chicago Bears showed, there are no "gimmes" in the NFL, and the Falcons could pose a challenge unlike any that San Francisco has seen this season.

Atlanta has been one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL thus far, ranking fourth in the NFL with 164.6 rushing yards per game, while averaging an outstanding 5.1 yards per carry, even with significant volume.

While lead running back Cordarelle Patterson is currently on Injured Reserve with a knee injury, backups Tyler Allgeier, Caleb Huntley, and Avery Williams have filled in admirably, with the trio averaging 4.7, 4.9, and 6.9 yards per carry, respectively.

Much has to do with an offensive line that is exceeding expectations in Atlanta, as well as the playcalling of head coach Arthur Smith. Nonetheless, Atlanta's rushing attack should not be slept upon.

The 49ers do currently possess the NFL's best rushing defense, allowing just 71.4 yards per game, and even shut down the Chicago Bears' rushing attack, which currently ranks third in the NFL, to just 2.7 yards per carry on 37 attempts.

Still, Atlanta's willingness to utilize the ground game, regardless of game script, has kept them in close games all season, as their efforts tire out opposing defenses, which has played to their ability in cutting leads.

Additionally, the Falcons are a conference opponent for the 49ers, as opposed to the Kansas City Chiefs, which could play a factor in the playoff seeding as both divisional and conference record matter for tiebreakers.

Remember, the 49ers were entrenched in a three-way tiebreaker with the Saints and Eagles late last year that was dependent on those two factors.

Now, where does Nick Bosa fit into the mix?

While Bosa's well known for his pass-rushing prowess, the fourth-year defensive end is also a stout run-defender, recording six run-stops this season, while not missing a tackle thus far in the run game.

Tyler Allgeier, Atlanta's presumed No. 1 running back on Sunday, is a multi-faceted running back with the speed to hit the edge, but the power to work between the tackles as well.

If Bosa doesn't play, San Francisco will need to set the edge well against Allgeier and the Falcons' offense to allow their linebackers to work in space and get into running lanes.

In the passing game this year, Bosa has been a force to reckon with, leading the NFL with six sacks, while recording 31 pressures, despite fielding a double-team rate of over 20% this season.

While many have lauded the standout performances of fellow defensive linemen Samson Ebukam and Charles Omenihu in the passing game this season, and deservedly so, they've faced easier matchups due to Bosa's double-team rate, especially the latter, which has resulted in more productivity.

Currently, Ebukam himself fields a double-team rate of over 20% as well, which would only increase if the attention were shifted to him instead of Bosa, making it more difficult to wreak havoc against Marcus Mariota.

While it's illogical to say that the 49ers wouldn't generate pressure without Bosa, it would come from differing sets from DeMeco Ryans similar to last week, with a variety of linebacker and safety blitzes to spice up the defense.

Lastly, with many arguments surrounding Bosa's availability, there's one integral piece missing: his competitiveness.

If Bosa and the 49ers' medical staff clear himself healthy for Sunday's game, the star edge rusher will play based on his desire to compete. That's how the NFL works.

However, the one scenario where Nick Bosa should sit is if there's any consideration about him potentially re-aggravating that groin injury that could sideline him for several weeks.

Earlier in the season, 49ers defensive tackle Arik Armstead played in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos while suffering from plantar fasciitis, which then resulted in an injury to his other foot and has kept him out for essentially the third straight week heading into Week 6.

With him and Javon Kinlaw currently sidelined, it would be another blow if the 49ers were to lose Bosa for the foreseeable future due to re-aggravation of his groin injury.

However, despite many fans' feelings, should that not be the case and if he's deemed healthy, I'd expect Nick Bosa to play against the Falcons, rather than the team sit him out an additional week.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


  • Rene
    Big AL are u crazy he has a groin injury he only practice limited on Friday so letting him rest is not absurd if he plays Sunday and reinjure his groin and we dont have him for the chiefs then that would be absurd just saying
    Oct 15, 2022 at 4:52 PM
  • BigAL
    The idea to 'rest' him is absurd. I didnt read that garbage and I never would. Thats really soft and in the NFL thats not gonna fly.
    Oct 15, 2022 at 3:52 PM


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