49ers: Pass rush likely to give Washington trouble
With the return of Aldon Smith to the lineup and the emergence of rookie Aaron Lynch on the opposite side, the 49ers find themselves with a formidable pass rush as their playoff push continues on Sunday against the Washington Redskins.
Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III has been pressured on 52.1% and sacked on 12.4% of his dropbacks this season, both figures the highest of any starting quarterback. To make matters worse for Griffin, his line is likely to be without left tackle Trent Williams (+6.3 pass blocking grade) who has allowed just one sack all season. He will be replaced by rookie Morgan Moses, who did earn a +1.4 pass block grade in relief of Williams last week against Tampa Bay. However Moses’ faces a stiffer test in his first career start this Sunday, when he will match-up against Aldon Smith.
Smith sat out the first ten weeks of the season due to suspension but jumped right in last Sunday, racking up eight QB pressures (two hits, six hurries) against the Giants. Lynch had eight pressures of his own against New York (one sack, seven hurries) and has a +7.6 pass rushing grade on the year while ranking seventh among qualifying 3-4 outside linebackers with an 11.1 Pass Rush Productivity Rating.