Late Monday night, the football world was introduced to what San Francisco 49ers’ rookie defensive end Nick Bosa is capable of. During the absolute destruction of the Cleveland Browns, Bosa and the defense surrounding him were able to limit an offense that had put up 50 points the week prior. Bosa was a significant reason the team was able to contain Baker Mayfield and his numerous weapons. The Browns finished that game with just three points.
Bosa was an absolute nightmare for Mayfield and the offense with one of the best rookie defensive performances in the history of the NFL. He finished the night with two sacks, nine quarterback pressures, three QB hits, four QB hurries, two tackles and a forced fumble. That stat line is enough to make any defensive end jealous, considering Bosa is a rookie it is even more impressive.
Bosa and the defense were able to ensure Mayfield had the second-worst Offensive Share Metric of the week with 6.22. The only quarterback that had a lower grade was Jacoby Brissett in the heavily run-game focused win over the Chiefs. Mayfield finished 8-22 for 100 yards with zero touchdowns and two picks.
When asked about their performance after the game, Mayfield took full responsibility for the loss. “You’re not doing your job anytime you stop yourself which seems to be our biggest problem right now obviously,” Mayfield said. “When you do that against a team of that caliber, you’re not going to have a lot of success.”
Bosa, a player who is often quiet after most games, was quite vocal about Mayfield and what he was able to do. One of the biggest storylines from the night was Bosa imitating a Mayfield celebration after a sack. During an important college football loss in 2017, Mayfield celebrated by planting the Oklahoma flag at the center of the Ohio State field. During the 49ers’ defensive dominance, Bosa ran to the middle of the field and imitated doing the same thing.
“I’m sure my Buckeye fans know a couple years back Baker planted the flag in the Horseshoe, so I had to get him back for it,” Bosa said in a postgame interview.
Damn…he had the timing down perfect pic.twitter.com/dUyWArEmPB
— Adam Lefkoe (@AdamLefkoe) October 8, 2019
“I don’t usually talk, but this game, he had it coming,” said Bosa, who added that he was in Mayfield’s ear throughout the game. “But he didn’t say one word back so. I was just screaming his name, like ‘Baker! Baker! You good? Come on, pick it up, we want a challenge.’ Stuff like that. He was just looking at me.”
Bosa was not the only player looking to teach Mayfield a lesson in the win. Former All-Pro cornerback, Richard Sherman, caught one of Mayfield’s two interceptions during Monday night’s game. He said after the game that he had extra motivation this week.
“What’s amazing, and annoying, was him not shaking hands at the beginning,” Sherman said. “That’s some college s—. It’s ridiculous. We’re all trying to get psyched up, but shaking hands with your opponent — that’s NFL etiquette. And when you pull bush-league stuff, that’s disrespectful to the game. And believe me, that’s gonna get us fired up.”
Reports have now shown that Mayfield did, in fact, shake his hand before the game, but not after. Either way, Sherman was fired up to prove a point to the sophomore quarterback. Dov Kleiman wrote an excellent piece on the situation this morning.
The 49ers have now put themselves in a good position to win the NFC West, as one of only two undefeated teams remaining. If Bosa continues to have games like this one, the entire NFL will need to account for his dominance. Offensive lines beware, Bosa is starting to find his place in the NFL!