Nick Bosa looked to galvanize 49ers defense after first-half debacle

Jan 30, 2024, 9:30 AM | Updated: 10:01 am

Jared Goff #16 of the Detroit Lions is sacked by Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers during th...

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Entering halftime down 24-7, the 49ers had their backs against the wall like never before. But instead of rolling over for the kill shot, the veteran group put on their hard hats and went to work. And that started with Nick Bosa rallying the troops.

The San Francisco 49ers star pass rusher was one of the few bright spots in the first half. He recorded two sacks in the second quarter, with the latter pushing the Detroit Lions out of field goal range.

Down by 17 points in a must-win moment, Bosa knew it would take an army to come back in this one. As he lay on the locker room floor with a heat pack on his lower body, the defensive end stayed calm, explaining to his teammates that if they stuck to the plan and stepped up, everything would fall into place.

“Just try and tell everybody, ‘Do your job,'” Nick Bosa said postgame Sunday. “That’s all we need to do. You’re one of 11, and in that first half there were breakdowns, one guy each time. Obviously, it’s hard for me to know exactly what’s going on, but you’ve just got to do your job and this defense is as talented as it gets. So, that was it.”

The vibe in the 49ers locker room was eerily similar to last season at this time: Frustration, anger, hopelessness.

The defensive unit had the biggest groans of them all, with the front four getting pushed around on almost every run play by the visitors. Losing an NFC Championship game is one thing, but getting manhandled on your home turf was unacceptable. And they knew it.

“It was embarrassing, yeah, it was embarrassing,” Bosa stated. “Kind of felt helpless. And we didn’t want to go down as failures and we know our defense is way too good to play like that.”

But in the end, the 2023 49ers got it done, headed back to the Super Bowl for the first time in four seasons.

When SF made The Big Game last, Nick Bosa was a rookie just along for the ride. This time around, he’s one of the leaders of the defenses, reflective of the 2020 playoffs and the resilience that led to this year’s group getting back to the final game of the season.

“We just kind of rolled in 2019, and I was a rookie so I didn’t know what was going on. I just thought this is how it goes,” he said with a smirk. “But the way we did it the past two weeks…I think it’s a testament to our group that we’re able to battle back and you got to do stuff like that to have a special season.”

That determination to reach the mountaintop comes from everyone in the locker room, especially the players that were there before like Bosa. What’s changed for the mild-mannered pass rusher is his role within the organization.

Four years ago, he was a bright-eyed rookie looking to make a name for himself. Now in 2024, he’s the focal cog of the 49ers’ pass rush, taking it upon himself to give everything he’s got to the organization that drafted him.

“Just being a leader and the relationships that we’ve built throughout the years. I just want to do everything I can for the guys. I want the most for [49erw coach Kyle Shanahan], I want the most for [defensive line coach Kris Kocurek], I want the most for all of our D-Line guys, I want the most for everybody. I’m just trying to leave it all out there.

Now four years removed from heartbreak in February 2020, Bosa and the 49ers have a second try at knocking off Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in a Super Bowl.

Fueled by everything that has led to this moment, Bosa replied with a calm and collected response to knowing the task at hand, eager to finish the job once and for all.

“It’s perfect. It’s perfect,” he stated. “There as great an organization, coach, quarterback as there is [in the NFL]. They were down, not looking great this year either, and they’re playing their best ball now. So, it’s gonna be a big challenge.”

Key dates for Nick Bosa and the San Francisco 49ers

  • Sunday, Feb. 11th – Super Bowl LVIII at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas
  • Tuesday, Feb. 20th – Teams can begin franchising players until Tuesday, March 5th
  • Tuesday, Feb. 27 – NFL Combine begins

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