49ers defensive end Nick Bosa provides reason for concern for Dolphins
SANTA CLARA — Miami coach Mike McDaniel spent enough time with Nick Bosa during his time as an assistant in San Francisco to know what he’ll be dealing with Sunday when he faces his former team for the first time.
Bosa has developed into one of the top pass rushers in the game, thanks in part to a devotion to the craft that McDaniel joked had him practicing pass-rush moves on hand sanitizers, lecterns and almost any other inanimate objects in his way.
“That might be a bit of an exaggeration,” Bosa said Wednesday. “But yeah, I definitely don’t walk around a corner like a normal person.”
What’s not an exaggeration is how dominant Bosa has been this season as one of the key cogs on one of the NFL’s top defenses.
Bosa has 11½ sacks and 30 quarterback hits so far this season for the 49ers (7-4), who go into Sunday’s game against the Dolphins (8-3) coming off their first shutout in three seasons and with four straight games without allowing a point in the second half.
“If Nick Bosa has a pulse, you’re concerned,” McDaniel said this week. “If he walks past you in the parking lot, you’re concerned. He’s one of the better players in the entire NFL. You could easily argue, many people have, and I think a lot of teams that have played him have, that he’s the best pass rusher in the NFL.”
Bosa has registered at least one sack in nine of the 10 games he has played this season, becoming just the fourth player to do that in the past 20 seasons and the first since Everson Griffen for Minnesota in 2017.
Since missing almost all of the 2020 season with a knee injury, Bosa has had 31 sacks in the regular season and playoffs the past two years — five more than second-place Myles Garrett.
“He’s a complete pro,” linebacker Fred Warner said. “He loves what he does. If you watched him for 24 hours every single day, literally every single thing that he does, that he eats, is to be the best ballplayer he can. It’s no surprise he is what he is.”
Bosa has headlined one of the NFL’s top defenses, with the Niners allowing the fewest points, yards and yards per play in the NFL.
The Niners shut out the Saints last week and became the eighth team since the merger to go four straight games without allowing a point in the second half.
But the test this week against Miami’s potent offense will be the toughest since a Week 7 loss to Kansas City, when the Chiefs put up 44 points on San Francisco.
Bosa knows that the Niners need to play better than they did last week, when they beat New Orleans 13-0.
“We could have been better in the game, which is saying a lot because we shut them out,” he said. “But as a D-line, I think there’s more that we could have gotten out of that game and the standards that we hold ourselves to is great because we’re not satisfied with even a shutout and one sack. We want more and we’re going to keep pushing for more.”
RB Christian McCaffrey (knee), RB Elijah Mitchell (knee), DL Charles Omenihu (knee) and OL Spencer Burford (ankle) all missed practice. Mitchell will be out several weeks, but coach Kyle Shanahan remained hopeful that McCaffrey can play this week. ... DL Arik Armstead (foot, ankle) and WR Deebo Samuel (quadriceps) were limited in practice. ... QB Jimmy Garoppolo was a full participant after hurting his knee Sunday.