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5 Players to Watch in the 49ers SNF Matchup with the Colts

They come into Week 7 with the return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and nickel K’Waun Williams.

The San Francisco 49ers (2-3) received their bye week at the perfect time as they limped out of Arizona with their top two quarterbacks injured. 

They come into Week 7 with the return of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and nickel K’Waun Williams for Sunday Night Football vs the Indianapolis Colts (2-4). 

Here are the 5 Players to Watch in the 49ers’ rainy SNF game against defensive tackle DeForest Buckner and the Colts: 

Eric Fisher, Left Tackle, #79 — Indianapolis Colts 

One of the battles of Super Bowl LIV was San Francisco defensive end Nick Bosa vs Kansas City left tackle Eric Fisher. 

Although Fisher got the win, Bosa had a dominant showing

Both players are coming off major leg injuries in 2020, with Fisher still working his way back to full speed after his devastating Achilles tear. 

Bosa on the other hand is off to an excellent start (89.2 PFF grade) with five sacks, eight tackles-for-loss and 10 QB hits in five games. 

In addition to Fisher’s injury concerns, the Colts will be without right tackle Braden Smith (foot/thumb). 

If Bosa has a dominant start to the game, it could force Indianapolis to keep a tight end, or star running back Jonathan Taylor, in for extra blocking. The Colts need Fisher to take care of Bosa so they can direct help elsewhere. 

Kenny Moore II, Cornerback, #23 — Indianapolis Colts 

The Colts have surrendered the 10th-most 20+ yard passing plays this season. Cornerbacks Kenny Moore II (54.3 PFF) and Xavier Rhodes (55.8 PFF) have passer ratings allowed of 102.3 and 130.5. 

Moore surrendered 10 completions on 12 attempts for 80 yards against Houston last week, and has already missed five tackles this season. Rhodes has been battling an ankle injury in practice this week. 

That should indicate a big game for Deebo Samuel, who had a season-low three catches in the 49ers’ last game. 

With Garoppolo under center, no George Kittle and no trusted second receiver, head coach Kyle Shanahan should get the ball in Samuel’s hands and let the YAC receiver break some tackles. 

Ross Dwelley, Tight End, #82 — San Francisco 49ers 

With Kittle on Injured Reserve, backup Ross Dwelley remains in an elevated role for this favorable matchup. 

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Despite having two of the better linebackers in the NFL, Darius Leonard and Bobby Okereke, the Colts have been burned by the tight end lately. 

Miami’s Mike Gesicki had five catches on six targets for 57 yards and a touchdown three weeks ago. In Week 5, Baltimore’s Mark Andrews had a monster game with 11 catches on 13 targets for 147 yards and two touchdowns. 

Although an improvement over the previous two games, Indianapolis still allowed Houston’s Jordan Akins four catches for his season-high 41 yards. 

Leonard is credited with 17 completions on 23 targets for 163 yards, three touchdowns and a 96.6 passer rating according to Pro Football Reference while Okereke has surrendered 21 completions on 26 targets for 165 yards, two touchdowns and a 118.7 passer rating. 

Dwelley has caught all three targets this season for a total of 46 yards. He should have more opportunities to get involved on Sunday, especially with safety Julian Blackmon (Achilles) out. 

Jaylon Moore, Left Tackle, #76 — San Francisco 49ers 

While right guard Daniel Brunskill and the rest of the interior line deal with former 49er Buckner and try to prevent Twitter mayhem, rookie left tackle Jaylon Moore is in line to make his first NFL start. 

Although the Colts don’t have any game-wrecking pass rushers on the outside, and are without the injured Kemoko Turay, they are one of the NFL’s best run defenses. 

Indianapolis trails only Tampa Bay as the most stout run defense in the NFL (1,448 yards allowed on the ground this season, and zero plays over 40 yards). 

Despite the unlikelihood that San Francisco can move the ball on the ground in the traditional sense, Shanahan can still help Moore and the rest of his offensive line with play-action passes to Samuel, Dwelley or running back Elijah Mitchell. 

Jaquiski Tartt, Safety, #3 — San Francisco 49ers 

It’s no secret that the 49ers are thin on the outside. But they do have two talented safeties in Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt, as well as Williams (calf) back from injury. 

Tartt and Ward will have two big responsibilities on Sunday: stopping Taylor in the open field, and preventing any long passes. 

Taylor has been one of the best running backs in the NFL this season, with 5.4 yards per carry, 14.0 yards per reception and 682 all-purpose yards. 

With Taylor being the Colts’ best option to move the ball, a single-high safety should be a common look for the San Francisco defense as Ward or Tartt line up in the box. 

This would leave the other safety on an island against receiver Michael Pittman Jr. (31 catches for 403 yards, a touchdown and 19 first downs in 2021). 

Fortunately, the weather could act as an extra defender and prevent any deep attempts. Tartt and the defense can use that to their advantage and stack the box to stop Taylor. 

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