The San Francisco 49ers defense held off the Seattle Seahawks in Week 2, leaving the Seahawks offense to just eight games in 49ers territory. Now is the Denver Broncos offense that includes former Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson’s 49ers monster. Wilson and company will be the biggest test of the 49ers defense so far in 2022.
Here are five players that defenses want to keep an eye on as they repeat their performances in Week 2:
DT Javon Kinlaw
With a backcourt of Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon, there will be pressure on the inside of the 49ers defense. Kinlaw impressed in both running and passing through his three presses in the first two games of the season. Denver’s two-headed backcourt combined for 223 yards on 44 possessions, averaging 5.06 yards per carry. Williams was particularly good in the middle, with 60 of his 118 rushing yards coming between guards.
LB Dre Greenlaw
Greenlaw played like a guy who just got paid for last week’s game against the Seahawks. The veteran linebacker led the 49ers’ defense with eight tackles, one of which was a loss. That’s a huge improvement from what we saw from Greenlaw in Week 1, where he took two bad penalties for 15 yards. Greenlaw will play a major role in the 49ers’ second-tier defense, not only to stop Denver’s running back, but also Russell Wilson.
CB Mooney Ward
Ward intercepted his first pass for the 49ers against Seattle while allowing just six yards after allowing five catches. Ward was the biggest target against Tyler Lockett, but after his four receptions, he didn’t give the Seahawks receiver much room to maneuver. Ward and Middle School will face their toughest test of the season so far against Wilson and Courtland Sutton, who was caught 11 times for seven receptions and 122 yards last week against Houston. The 49ers will likely miss Jerry Jeudy, who is out Wednesday and Thursday with a rib injury.
DL Charles Omenihu
Only Nick Bosa was better at rushing passes against Seattle last week than Charles Omenihu. Ohemihu was credited with three pressures, two quarterback hits, and 28 steals in the win. Russell Wilson has always proven to be a serious test of the 49ers’ pass rush, even if the offensive line he deals with in Seattle is sub-par. Likewise, the 49ers defense faced a tough test against the Broncos, which featured veterans Cameron Fleming and Garrett Boles in tackles.
DT Kevin Givens
With DJ Jones signed with the Broncos this past offseason, Givens was tasked with replacing Jones as the third defensive tackle, and he had a good start to the season. Of his four tackles against Settle on Sunday, three of his tackles were lost for just six runs. Like Kinlaw, Givens could have a big role on the run when trying to stop Williams and Gordon.