San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was a popular name by the end of last season. He led a group that was the best defense in football after October last year.
Ryans interviewed the Minnesota Vikings for their job as head coach last season, but declined a second interview. He’ll be getting a lot more interviews if the 49ers defense continues to play as it has so far this season.
Against an attack from Los Angeles Rams led by respected head coach Sean McVay, the 49ers did everything right. They had seven sacks of five players. The defense did not allow a touchdown and scored one of their own. It helps to have players like Nick Bosa and Fred Warner by your side, but Ryans had all the answers to Monday night’s attack from McVay. It was a clinic by Ryans against a coaching star who won a Super Bowl eight months ago.
The 49ers defeated the Rams 24-9 in a huge game for their season on Monday night. They go to 2-2, the same record as the Rams. The deciding game in the fourth quarter was a 49ers defense score, fitting enough. Matthew Stafford looked to the right and turned to Cooper Kupp, his only reliable option. Niner’s safety Talanoa Hufanga jumped the route, grabbed the pass and returned 52 meters. The 49ers’ defenses made it to the end zone, something the Rams attack didn’t do once on Monday night.
The 49ers defense will keep them in the playoffs all season. As long as Ryans leads that unit, they can count on more dominance.
49ers defense has another great performance
The 49ers were under constant pressure on Stafford. There were clever stunts coming home and well-timed, selective blitzes. McVay told ESPN there were too many mental mistakes in the protection, but credit the 49ers for that. The Rams had problems because the 49ers mixed it up really well. The 49ers never seemed to miss a tackle either.
The 49ers made the Rams a one-dimensional offense. No one can cover Kupp. But Kupp was the only offense Los Angeles had. Everything else was cut off. And Kupp didn’t get much other than a lot of short passes, which every defense needs. He finished with 122 yards on 14 catches. The 49ers can live with that. The Rams had just 257 total yards on Monday night.
The 49ers’ offense is a work in progress, but it has Deebo Samuel, who broke the game’s biggest play, a 57-yard touchdown in which he caught a short pass and ran through the Rams on his way to the end zone. Samuel had received 115 yards. The 49ers have playmakers on the offensive, led by Samuel, and it should get better as the season progresses.
The defense will be elite. The 49ers were able to call off a game knowing the defense wouldn’t give up much. It looks like the best defense in football, and Ryans will become one of the hot names in the coaching world.
49ers, DeMeco Ryans pick up from last season
Last season, the 49ers defense carried the team to the NFC Championship game, and in the fourth quarter of that game, the Rams were stuck on seven points. In the 49ers’ last 12 games last season, including playoffs, they allowed more than 327 yards only twice. Once was in an overtime win over eventual AFC champion Cincinnati Bengals. The 49ers have been great on defense for most of last season.
That led to Ryans getting some head coaching buzz. The longtime Houston Texans and Philadelphia Eagles linebacker — he was the 2008 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and two-time Pro Bowler — took over the role of coordinator when Robert Saleh left to become the head coach of the New York Jets, and he was amazing right on the job. He was still an active player in 2015, so he got along well with players. He is only 38 years old and the league tends to hire younger coaches.
He will be a great candidate next season, especially now that he has shown that 2021 was no fluke. He will fight with some offensive coaches for jobs but he will be a hot name. That assumes the 49ers will continue to play defense as they played the first four games of the season. That shouldn’t be a problem.
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