Despite the San Francisco 49ers controlling the contest Monday night against the Los Angeles Rams, the game remained a one-possession sport with under seven minutes remaining.
Then Talanoa Hufanga stepped in.
The 49ers safety jumped a Matthew Stafford huge-receiver camouflage to Cooper Kupp and dashed to the stay zone for the game-sealing ranking to provide the Niners the 24-9 victory over their division opponents.
“Shows are admire — that it’s essential to additionally scent a rat when it involves those issues,” Hufanga stated of what he saw on the play. “Very like a flash to the flat, they had been doing it all night making an strive to gain it to Kupp. I mediate they had been making an strive to gain aid now heading within the true direction, gorgeous making an strive to gain issues going. Guys are gorgeous swarming. The protection became taking part in lights out.”
Hufanga has been a possibility on protection all season, flying all the device via the sphere, making tackles, breaking up passes, and inflicting havoc on the 49ers’ aid stay — attain we gain this guy a Defensive Player of the Week award, please, NFL? Monday night, he punctuated an very fair appropriate commence to the season with his first profession touchdown, in top time no much less. Whenever you happen to didn’t know who Tufanga became sooner than Monday night, you completely attain now.
“I mediate anybody who’s viewed Huf play this 300 and sixty five days and even remaining 300 and sixty five days, the man doesn’t hesitate and while you happen to attain that you greater assemble some very appropriate, professional guesses or or no longer it is no longer long sooner than you hand over the immense plays and maintain each and each teams within the game, and that is the reason what Huf’s been in actuality spectacular with right here this 300 and sixty five days,” coach Kyle Shanahan stated.
Hufanga became a playmaker at USC, but middling testing at some level of the draft process and questions about where he could perchance play dropped him to the fifth spherical in 2021. The 49ers nabbed themselves a plot terminate. Now not most effective does Hufanga’s play lift to solutions Troy Polamalu, however the safety in actuality trains with the Hall of Famer within the offseason.
“I mediate he’s gorgeous in actuality wise. He’s a beautiful blitzer,” Nick Bosa stated of Hufanga. “He can attain elegant noteworthy the leisure on the sphere. I mediate he trains with Troy Polamalu for the length of the offseason, in shriek that can not injure. And yeah, I mediate his solutions is his biggest asset.”
Hufanga epitomizes a 49ers protection that flies to the ball and by no procedure supplies an plod with out resistance. DeMeco Ryans’ D leads the NFL with gorgeous 11.5 solutions per sport allowed, 3.8 yards per play allowed, given up the fewest immense plays (12), and is tied with Buffalo for fewest yards allowed (234.5) via four weeks.
The Niners boast a championship-caliber protection that will maintain them in competition even in weeks the offense struggles.
“I mediate or no longer it is to be most effective within the league,” Bosa stated of the protection’s ceiling. “Or no longer it is form of our mindset every 300 and sixty five days and this 300 and sixty five days we have got the personnel to attain it. Now not that we have not any longer within the previous, but at all three ranges are elite gamers. I mediate the addition of [CB Charvarius Ward] and [Hufanga] initiating to play at this stage and then the depth on the defensive line. So or no longer it is a community effort.”