NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans took a page out of the 49ers' loss to the Green Bay Packers earlier in the season and kept Nick Bosa from getting to their quarterback.
In the 49ers 20-17 loss at Nissan Stadium, it initially seemed like the defensive line would have the upper hand over a depleted Titans offensive line. With veteran left tackle Tayler Lewan and starting guard Rodger Saffold out of the game, rookie Dillon Radunz was set to have his first NFL start be opposite of Bosa.
Instead, Ryan Tannehill was protected by an extra tight end at the end of the offensive line throughout nearly the entire game, or "max-protection." Bosa routinely faced double teams and for the first time since Week 9, did not record a quarterback sack.
“It was max-pro the whole game,” Bosa said. “We got to do a better job of figuring a way to counter it.”
After the 49ers' loss to the Green Bay Packers in Week 3, Bosa spoke about the defense needing “chip-beaters” in order to help him get to his target. For the most part, the change in scheme has been successful. In only three other games this season has Bosa come away without taking down the opposing quarterback.
Bosa was double-teamed so often that he revealed he couldn’t even make a fair assessment of Radunz’s play because he was never one-on-one with the rookie.
The 49ers' defense seemed to have the Titans on their heels through much of the first half but was unable to get off the field in the second. The Titans converted on nine of their 16 third downs (56.3%) and forced the 49ers' defense to remain on the field.
San Francisco 49ers
“It was tough especially towards the end,” Bosa said. “Those are the plays that win games and if you don’t make them, it’s definitely deflating. The third downs were big. We stopped the run pretty well all night. They tried to stick with it. We just got to get off the field.”
While very frustrated, Bosa still had a positive outlook on the two remaining games on the 49ers' regular-season schedule.
“It’s always tough when you’re far away and you got to fly home, and when you feel like you should win,” Bosa said. “But it’s the NFL it’s not always fun. We’re going to be fine. We’ve been through a lot this year. We’ve had a lot of tough losses and we are going to try to make this the last one."