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Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports

Chase Young fits in nicely, makes impact in 49ers debut vs. Jaguars

Nov 12, 2023 at 4:08 PM--

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12 days after acquiring defensive end Chase Young in a November 1 trade with the Washington Commanders, the 49ers had one of their best defensive showings of the season in a 34-3 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, helped in part by their latest addition who seems to be acclimating to his new surroundings quite smoothly.

Young had half a sack and two quarterback hits in his 49ers debut and was part of a dominant defensive line effort that ended with five sacks and 10 quarterback hits. Together with defensive tackles Arik Armstead (.5 sacks, one QB hit) and Javon Hargrave (1.5 sacks, three QB hits) as well as defensive end Clelin Ferrell (one sack, one QB hit) and old friend Nick Bosa (1.5 sacks, two QB hits, one forced fumble and fumble recovery), Young was part of an electrifying defensive line performance that gave a tantalizing glimpse of what the 49ers are capable of accomplishing in the weeks ahead.

"From what I saw there, it seemed like he had a big impact," 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said after the win.

The 49ers were slumping on defense heading into the game against the Jaguars, having given up 400 or more yards of offense in recent losses to the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals while allowing Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (378 yards, 35-of-45 passing, two touchdowns, one interception) and Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow (283 yards, 28-of-32 passing, three touchdowns, zero interceptions) to have their way. But they rebounded significantly on Sunday, while holding Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence to 185 yards and two interceptions on 17-of-29 passing. The defensive line led the way for the 49ers against Lawrence and the Jaguars, with Young playing a noticeable role despite it being his first 49ers outing.

"I think he fit in great," linebacker Fred Warner said. "I guess that was the missing link right there to playing dominant defense again. So it was so good having him out there, man. He brings such great energy. He's obviously such a physical and dominant player. I'll have to watch the tape to see how he truly did, but it felt like his presence was felt."

Young's biggest highlight came when he split a sack with Bosa on a play where Bosa stripped the ball from Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. It was a moment reminiscent of Young and Bosa's college days at Ohio State when the two of them were, for a time, bookends on the same defensive line.

"It felt good," Young said Sunday of being able to play again with Bosa. "Nick's always been a big brother to me. He always opened the door for me, just anything that I need. He's always been there. It's crazy that we're together."

Young and Bosa didn't get a chance to play together as much as they could have at Ohio State due to an injury that cost Bosa most of his junior season. But now that the two of them are reunited with the 49ers, they have a chance to reach the full potential as a duo that they might have shown if Bosa had stayed healthy in his final year with the Buckeyes.

"Having him is such a big threat," Bosa said of Young after the game Sunday. "I think we play off of each other well, and me and him are really excited to keep going."

In addition to looking like a seamless fit on the field, Young has been fitting in with his new teammates in the locker room as well. Young showed his appreciation Sunday for how the other players have embraced him since the trade.

"Since day one," Young said. "I thank all the guys daily (for) welcoming me to the crew and you know, excited to be here."

With the former No. 2 overall draft pick Young in the fold, the 49ers, on paper, have one of the deepest, most talented defensive lines in the NFL. That was also the case before the trade, but the results didn't always show up on gamedays. Sunday's win over the Jaguars showed what the 49ers expect to see from their defensive line on a weekly basis, and Young certainly did his part to make that happen.

"I know watching him and Nick there on that same play, I'll see when I watch the tape, but just having him out there and allowing our rotation to go, from what it looked like to me, I thought we rushed collectively the best that I've seen," Shanahan said. "I'll tell you guys tomorrow after I watched it on the plane, but just watching it live on the sidelines, it seemed collectively our group had their best game yet, and that's the goal."

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