49ers' defense with Kwon Alexander, Dee Ford and Nick Bosa shut down QBs


The 49ers are enjoying a much-needed bye week during the first round of the NFL playoffs, as they dealt with more than their fair share of injuries to critical players over the course of the regular season.

Two of those players -- linebacker Kwon Alexander and edge rusher Dee Ford -- were San Francisco's biggest offseason additions along with first-round draft pick Nick Bosa, but due to the injuries, that trio didn't see much time on the field together.

However, what limited time they did play together was extremely impressive.

Prior to Alexander going down with a torn pectoral on Halloween, he, Bosa and Ford combined for just 108 defensive snaps together. But over those 108 snaps, opposing quarterbacks posted a QBR -- which values the quarterback on all play types on a 0-to-100 scale adjusted for the strength of opposing defenses faced -- of just 3.0.

As ESPN's Bill Barnwell wrote, "That's not a typo -- 3 out of 100."

To get an idea of just how dominant the 49ers were with Alexander, Bosa and Ford playing together, there were only five individual QB performances during the regular season in which a quarterback played at least 20 plays and posted a QBR of less than 3.0. Two of them came against San Francisco, both before Alexander's injury.

Think about that. There are 32 teams in the league. Each plays 16 games. That's a minimum of 512 QBR results, which doesn't even account for a team playing multiple QBs within the same game.

[RELATED: How 49ers' Alexander was lifted up by Texans' Watt in rehab]

The 49ers' defense backslid somewhat down the stretch while Alexander was out and Ford missed multiple games. However, both have a chance to return in the postseason.

If they're able to, it's unlikely to be very fun for whichever quarterback they go up against.

Contact Us