In their two losses in Week 2 and 3, the San Francisco 49ers‘ offensive and defensive lines were dominated and pushed around by their respective foes. It is no coincidence that they lost each of those two games. Against the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers’ offensive and defensive lines got back to dominating and winning the battle in the trenches. In the 49ers 34-3 win over the Houston Texans on Sunday night, the club again dominated the battle in the trenches as they cruised to a win.
The 49ers defensive line faced off against a Texans offensive line who over the years has done a very good job of opening up and creating good running lanes for Arian Foster and Ben Tate, thanks in large part to the zone blocking scheme they employ. Sunday night, the 49ers defensive line was able to win this battle as they were regularly able to either hold their own or win their respective battles against the Texans offensive line. While the final numbers show that the Texans finished with 131 rushing yards, it is clear that the 49ers defensive line was able to help neutralize the vaunted rushing attack.
The same scenario can be observed with regards to how the 49ers were able to put pressure on Matt Schaub. While the 49ers as a defense only recorded one sack and four quarterback hits, watching the game it was clear that the 49ers defensive line did a fine job of preventing Schaub from having a clean throwing pocket. They were able to pressure him and force some ill-timed and rushed passes which went for incompletions and the defense recorded seven pass deflections.
The 49ers defensive line wasn’t the only unit winning the battle in the trenches as the offensive line also won their respective battle against the Texans defensive line, a unit considered one of the better ones in the league. From the opening offensive drive, the 49ers offensive line did a good job of winning their respective battles as they allowed for Frank Gore to break off several good runs and allowed Colin Kaepernick to have a clean throwing pocket on several third down completions on a touchdown scoring drive that gave the 49ers a 14-0 lead. The 49ers offensive line followed up a 219 rushing yard outing against the Rams with a 177 rushing yard outing against the Texans.
Under Jim Harbaugh, the 49ers have prided themselves on being a tough physical team, especially with regards to having offensive and defensive lines who are tough, nasty, and win their respective battles on a regular basis during individual games and over the course of a season. Against the Texans, the 49ers’ offensive and defensive lines showed dominance in winning their respective battles and as a result, contributed greatly to a blowout win.