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How did Nick Bosa do vs. the Steelers? 49ers’ Kyle Shanahan weighs in

Sep 11, 2023 at 4:03 PM--

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We saw the Nick Bosa effect on Sunday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The San Francisco 49ers defensive end didn't reach the opposing quarterback once in the 30-7 victory but was still the highest-graded 49ers defender, per Pro Football Focus.

Bosa's presence may have opened things up for his teammates. With a lot of attention on the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, three other 49ers defensive linemen were able to capitalize. Drake Jackson, Javon Hargrave, and Kerry Hyder reached Steelers quarterback Kenny Pickett. Jackson reached him three times.

Bosa only played 35 snaps, about what the team had planned after the defensive end's late arrival due to a contract holdout. What did head coach Kyle Shanahan see from his now-$34 million-per-year defender?

"I thought he did a good job, especially for his first time back," Shanahan told reporters on Monday via a conference call. "I thought he played real well in the run game. [He] didn't get a ton of opportunities in the pass game with the center going the other way or some chips, but forced that holding call on one, and we ended up declining it because [S Talanoa Hufanga] got ... that tackle for the loss of five.

"But I thought it was a good first day back. Got out healthy and ready to get him back into the swing of things this week."

Bosa recorded a league-leading 18.5 sacks last season. The others along the defensive line will benefit from so much attention given to stopping the talented pass rusher.

"It's really why we wanted to go out and get Javon," Shanahan said. "I thought that would make a big difference. It's been so great to get [Arik] Armstead back, and have the offseason he's had, and just being healthy, really, for the first time because he struggled with that all last year.

"So both of those guys just playing at that level, and Drake, the offseason he had, it was real cool to see him get some benefits from it and some success in the game."

What's the plan for Bosa going forward? How long will the defensive end be full-go against opponents after so much time away from the team? Can that happen by this weekend against the Los Angeles Rams?

"I think he will be," Shanahan said. "I know he got 35 plays. He was full-go on those. He played like he was full-go. We just wanted to take into account the recovery and things like that after, so we're really happy to be able to get a win and play the way we did with reaching the play count or not exceeding the part that we had planned on.

"Hopefully, he'll spend these two days recovering. I'm sure he's going to be sore today, sore tomorrow, just from doing that. And hopefully, he'll be fresh enough to come out and start getting to go at practice Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday."

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