Nick Bosa could be in for big game vs. Dolphins

Nick Bosa’s name has been floated in Defensive Player of the Year conversations, but the 49ers’ star defensive end could use a huge game to complement his consistent dominance. That game could come Sunday against the high-powered Miami Dolphins’ offense.

While the 49ers deal with injuries in their backfield, the Dolphins sustained a sizable injury in Week 12 when left tackle Terron Armstead went down with a pectoral injury that could shut him down for several weeks. His likely replacement, Brandon Shell, is the reason the Dolphins fell from No. 16 to No. 21 in the Pro Football Focus offensive line rankings.

Shell in 58 pass blocking snaps at left tackle this year has allowed 12 pressures, eight hurries and four quarterback hits. His overall pass blocking grade this year is a paltry 43.2 (60.0 is considered average), and in his two stints at left tackle he’s posted pass blocking grades of 15.2 and 15.5 (that is bad, FYI).

On the other side, Bosa has been stellar all year. He’s tied for the NFL lead with 55 pressures, and he’s up to 11.5 sacks after posting at least 1.0 in five consecutive games. There aren’t many left tackles equipped to handle Bosa, much less a replacement who isn’t a good pass blocker at his natural right tackle spot.

If there’s a game where Bosa is going to wreck an offense with a couple sacks and a forced turnover, it would be one like Sunday where he gets to face a LT like Shell.

Of course, the Dolphins and head coach Mike McDaniel aren’t going to just put Shell on an island to let Bosa tee off. They’ll send additional blockers, chip, cut, and run utilize their team speed to keep Bosa from pinning his ears back and getting up the field. We saw Kansas City execute an excellent game plan against the 49ers’ DPOY candidate, and it’s likely the Dolphins take notes on what made the Chiefs successful in slowing down Bosa.

Despite all that, Bosa will need to make a couple plays against Shell if he wants to be mentioned more loudly among the other DPOY hopefuls. A huge game where he helps slow down the No. 6-ranked scoring offense in the NFL would surely make him one of the favorites to win the award if he’s not already there.

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Story originally appeared on Niners Wire