Nick Bosa left the game against the Cowboys with 1:19 left in the first half with an injury and did not return. A collision with D.J. Jones resulted in a concussion for the San Francisco 49ers‘ third-year pass rusher. Unlike other injuries, concussions don’t often force players to miss games, but they are one of the more frustrating injuries to try and predict. Soft-tissue injuries are finicky. Concussions are entirely random.
Nick Bosa injury update
The nature of head injuries and the independent process surrounding them in the NFL makes updates as fleeting as the heat as winter approaches in the Northeast. Bosa is in for a week of doctor visits and independent evaluations to determine when he’ll be cleared for activity again.
As someone who’s gone through his fair share of concussions, I can attest that every single one has a different effect on the body. Luckily, the NFL has at least enacted protocols to act as if they care about head injuries. There is no more “toughing things out.”
The replay was terrifying. All 320+ pounds of Jones flew through the air at breakneck speeds when… well… Bosa went face-first into his hip. Bosa’s neck turned into a folding chair before slingshotting forward and onto the turf.
But there seems to be little rhyme or reason for severity. We saw Donald Parham Jr. fall in the end zone untouched a few weeks back and suffer significant damage.
Nick Bosa’s performance in 2021
Bosa has been magnificent this season. A few pass rushers had otherworldly seasons, but Bosa was a top-four edge rusher in the league for my money. If he wasn’t double-teamed so often, he would probably be talked about in the same light as T.J. Watt and Myles Garrett.
Bosa led the league in tackles for loss. Part of what makes him such a commodity is his consistency as a run defender. He ranked fifth in the league in stops, which are tackles resulting in a “failure” for the offense.
Only Watt, Garrett, and Robert Quinn had more sacks than Bosa in 2021. He’s the best player on a defense that also features Fred Warner, who is possibly the best linebacker in the NFL.
If Bosa can’t play against Green Bay, it is a massive loss for the 49ers both in run defense and rushing Aaron Rodgers.
Who will step up for the Niners pass rush?
There is good news for Niners fans, however. Even after Bosa and Warner’s injuries Sunday, San Francisco was able to keep Dak Prescott under siege with the rest of their unit.
Arik Armstead highlights the group. He is a household name, and for good reason. Armstead was eighth among interior players with 52 total pressures. And he’s not the only name on the 49ers line that can get to the quarterback at a high rate.
Arden Key tallied 8 sacks and 36 pressures on just 375 total snaps in 2021. You won’t see him often on traditional downs, but he’ll get a ton of play when the offense is behind the sticks. Jordan Willis and his hilarious sprinter stance that makes him stick out like a sore thumb has made his presence known in the playoffs. The 275-pound athletic freak surprised Tyron Smith a few times.
Against Dallas, Charles Omenihu (2 sacks, 6 total pressures) made the most significant impact. But Jones, Samson Ebukam, and Kentavius Street can all collapse a pocket as well. So, losing Bosa means losing your best player. But the 49ers are so deep on the defensive line that they can sustain despite the loss.