San Francisco Chronicle
Bosa sets sights on upward mobility
PHILADELPHIA — Week 2 of 2020 was a brutal one for the 49ers, and one of the biggest blows was when defensive end Nick Bosa tore his ACL and was lost for the season.
A year later, in Week 2 of 2021, Bosa appears to be back.
“I think I’m moving well,” he said.
The Eagles thought so, too. Bosa had two sacks Sunday, to add to his first-week sack. He also had three tackles, a forced fumble and two quarterback hits. And overall, he felt better than he did in Week 1.
“I thought I rushed better,” he said. “Every week will get better. I’m getting used to the flow of the game and setting things up. Being smarter and not showing everything too early.”
He also felt a bit better because he was on the amazing surface called grass. Not like the artificial turf he played on in Week 2 last year, which led to his season-ending injury.
“Any game on grass is better for everybody,” Bosa said.
And any game with a healthy Bosa is better for the 49ers. The opponents know it. Niners defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw speculates that opponents are on the sideline wondering, “What are we going to do about Bosa?”
Which is why he’s getting double-teamed or held on almost every snap.
“I mean it (being held) definitely happens pretty often, but I’m just so focused on getting to the quarterback,” Bosa said. “I just think I’m getting blocked. I can’t even tell, unless it’s a blatant situation where they’re pulling on me. I rarely sell anything to the ref because I’m not thinking about it.”
But the rest of the 49ers notice. And are irritated on his behalf.
“It’s always frustrating,” said head coach Kyle Shanahan, saying he doesn’t often see it in real time but sees it on film. “Sometimes it’s worse than others.”
But having an explosive playmaker on defense who gets held constantly is better than the alternative. As fans know from 2019 — which for Bosa has been his only real year in the league — a dominating defense and a good offense make for complementary and winning football.
The 49ers had to rely heavily on their defense Sunday, with the offense sputtering early.
The main swing in the game came when the Eagles got down to the 3-yard line on a 91-yard pass play but came away scoreless, and the 49ers marched 97 yards for a touchdown.
“It was huge,” Bosa said. “It couldn’t have been bigger. When I saw the bomb, I was ready to run off the field. I thought he was gone.
“But then we jogged our way down there and hung tough. It was the biggest sequence of the game ... it was the difference.”
And though Bosa is still really young, he is experienced enough to know how much this two-win road trip might mean to the 49ers.
“It’s games like this, where you find a way to get a win before you head back home,” Bosa said. “That’s what propels you to a great season, I think.”
The 49ers might be on their way to a great season. For Bosa, it is already better than last year.