49ers: Lynch shines in expanded role
The pass rushing ability of the 49ers outside linebacker corps has been one of the strengths of their defense the last several years. However, without Aldon Smith to start the season, they had struggled to create much pressure through the first three weeks, tallying just one sack and nine total QB pressures as a group.
One of the bigger disappointments has been second-year player Corey Lemonier, who in 67 pass rushes had earned a -4.5 pass rush grade through three games with only one QB hit and one hurry to show for his efforts.
49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made the bold move Sunday to bench Lemonier and insert rookie Aaron Lynch as a pass rusher in the nickel package and it paid dividends.
Lynch played 25 snaps (all pass plays) and earned a +3.1 overall grade while generating four QB pressures. One of Lynch’s two hits on Foles helped force an incompletion on 4th-and-Goal in the final minutes.
Lynch rushed the passer on 24 of his 25 snaps, but it may have been his one play where he didn’t go after Foles that was his most impressive. On the Eagles’ final drive, Lynch quickly read a swing pass to Darren Sproles and snuffed out the play for a 4-yard loss.