The wait is over. Nick Bosa has arrived.
With Bosa having suffered a high-ankle sprain in practice that stole his entire preseason, there were concerns he wouldn’t be ready to go for the season opener. Those concerns were laid to rest when he returned to practice last week and appeared to be almost back to 100 percent.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been as motivated in my life to get back,” said Bosa to Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. “I’ve had my sights set on playing my first NFL season. And every waking hour was spent getting my ankle right.”
It didn’t take long before the second pick of the 2019 NFL Draft made his mark against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After missing a sack earlier in the game, Bosa got another opportunity off of a play-action pass during the third quarter.
Initially, Buccaneers offensive tackle Donovan Smith did a solid job staying in front of Bosa by capturing his chest, which is not good from a defensive linemen’s perspective because it stops pass rushers dead in their tracks. But the former Ohio State superstar was drafted No. 2 overall because of his lineage and ability to rush the passer.
Bosa continued to work the hands of Smith with a swipe technique and ran his feet to separate from the blocker. Once free, he ran to the upfield shoulder of quarterback Jameis Winston. And before Winston can get away from Bosa for the second time, he wrapped his legs up and secured his first NFL sack.
In order to have more chances at rushing the passer, defenses must be able to shut down the run game. Bosa proved he can do just that. Bucs tight end Cameron Brate tried to block Bosa in the red zone only to be knocked back and dispatched, leading to a tackle for loss for the 49ers defense.
But back to that missed sack.
It wasn’t all positive for Bosa in his first game. After beating Smith badly with a counter swipe move back inside, Bosa was on his way to his first NFL sack, only to be juked by Winston with the crossover step. Winston would end up throwing a 16-yard pass to wide receiver Mike Evans for a first down. It was a minor mistake in an otherwise solid debut for Bosa, who would go on to finish with three tackles and one sack along with three QB hits.
The 49ers defense as a whole came to play Sunday, forcing four total turnovers. The mistake-prone Winston threw three interceptions, two of which were taken back for touchdowns by Richard Sherman and Ahkello Witherspoon.
After the game, Los Angeles Chargers superstar and proud big brother, Joey Bosa responded to his little brother’s first sack on DLineVids Instagram page with “Yeahhhhh budddyyyyyyy.”
A promising start for a rising star.
Media courtesy USA Today Sports Images
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