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Nick Bosa: 49ers D-line might be better than 2019‘s

Sep 11, 2023 at 8:43 AM--

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"The 49ers are the best team in the league," wrote Albert Breer in his Monday morning feature for Sports Illustrated. Of course, he notes that it is subject to change due to the unpredictable NFL.

Still, on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the 49ers looked dominant on both sides of the football. The team rolled to a 30-7 win in a typically-tough Acrisure Field environment that had been invaded by a sea of red and gold, much to the surprise of local Steelers fans.

"The amount of love that they showed us today all the way out here in Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh, like, it's incredible, man," linebacker Fred Warner said after the game. "They showed up big time, The Faithful."

As evidence of the one-sided affair, Breer noted that, at one point in the second quarter, the 49ers owned 199 total yards compared to one yard for the Steelers. The Pittsburgh offense didn't pick up its initial first down until 1:16 left in the first half, already down 20-0.

The 49ers' swarming defense was helped by a stout and slightly revamped defensive line. Defensive end Nick Bosa returned to the lineup after ending a six-week-long holdout. While all eyes were on the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, second-year defensive end Drake Jackson stole the show, racking up three sacks in the contest.

"I think that he's worked his tail off all offseason," Warner said, "and for him to come out and have a game like that is such a big confidence boost to himself. And we're going to need it all season. We need everybody to play a big role on this defense, and I was so happy for him today."

Between Bosa and Jackson, the 49ers added defensive tackle Javon Hargrave, pairing him with longtime Niners defensive lineman Arik Armstead.

"Yeah, I mean, we would watch [Hargrave] with Philly, and I think between him and Chris Jones and obviously Aaron Donald, it's pretty close on who affects games as much from the inside," Bosa told reporters after the game. "And to add him with Arik [Armstead], it's going to help us on the edge a lot."

The defensive line has Bosa excited about the possibilities this season as the 49ers seek to win a championship. The talented pass rusher reflected on previous years with the team and discussed how this unit stacks up against them.

"I kind of say this every year, just because of how confident I am in our [front office and coaches] and the players that we have," Bosa told Breer after the game. "But adding [Javon] Hargrave and Clelin [Ferrell] and a few of the other guys, I just knew that we were going to be back talent-wise to 2019. Or, I think, better even with depth. It was tough to not be a part of it [during training camp], because every year we're expecting to go the whole way."

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