Defensive lineman Arik Armstead was solid against the run last week, making a key stop on Rams’ running back Darrell Henderson.
He’ll have a bigger test this week holding the edge not on Buffalo’s running backs, but on quarterback Josh Allen.
It’s no secret that Armstead and the rest of the 49ers struggle with mobile quarterbacks.
Philadelphia’s Carson Wentz scored a touchdown on a read-option and broke containment to extend drives Week 4.
The Giants’ Daniel Jones had three rushes over 15 yards Week 3.
In Week 1, Kyler Murray rushed for 91 yards and a touchdown.
Lamar Jackson burned the 2019 49ers for 101 yards and a touchdown.
But when looking at the 49ers’ many failures and one success (Cam Newton) with mobile quarterbacks, this could possibly be a rare favorable matchup.
Although Allen is a dangerous runner, he’s more Newton than Jackson or Murray. He averages 28.3 rushing yards per game and has six touchdowns.
Allen (6’5, 237) is a great scrambler, but a lot of his short-yardage and red-zone production comes via QB powers, which San Francisco has the personnel to defend.
Against Arizona, the 49ers struggled with both Murray’s shiftiness and the uncertainty of whether he would slide. Murray added an extra 30 yards on two unnecessary roughness penalties.
Allen on the other hand, doesn’t slide. On his 64 rushes (81 minus his 17 kneel downs), he slid just five times. He either lowers his head or goes out of bounds.
That bodes well for the 49ers.
They have elite tacklers at all three levels with linebacker Fred Warner, safety Jimmie Ward and cornerback Richard Sherman all possessing the ability to bring Allen down.
Allen’s running-style sets him up for plenty of big gains and broken tackles, but it also opens him up for punishing blows and fumbles.
Stats are not the end-all-be-all for defensive linemen, and that holds especially true for Armstead this Monday. Armstead doesn’t need stats to have a good game. He must hold the edge, contain Allen and allow his teammates to make the play.
If he reverts back to his old form, it will be a long day for the defense.
This is the perfect game for Armstead to lay down the path toward justifying his contract. If he can help limit Allen’s scrambling and off-tackle powers, he will take away a major part of Buffalo’s offense.
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