The 49ers on Sunday trounced the Steelers 30-7 at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh.
One of the biggest storylines going into the game was how much 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa would play after missing the entire preseason due to a contract holdout.
It was reported before the game the team was hoping Bosa would play between 30 and 40 snaps, though they’d adjust those numbers if needed. He wound up landing directly in the middle of that number and played more than any other 49ers defensive end.
That is just one of a handful of other takeaways from the official snap counts released by the NFL on Monday morning:
Nick Bosa back to work
Bosa total snaps: 36
Bosa wound up leading the way in playing time among the 49ers’ defensive ends. He played 35 snaps on defense and one on special teams. The Steelers offense ran only 63 plays overall and 27 in the first half which helped the 49ers keep Bosa on the field. It also helped that the game was put away early in the second half so they didn’t need to lean on Bosa to help them finish out a close one.
Oren Burks is LB3
Burks total snaps: 12
Burks’ eight defensive snaps are an indication that he’s the team’s No. 3 linebacker ahead of Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles. No other linebacker aside from the starters Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw played on defense. There was some speculation that rookie seventh-round pick Jalen Graham might earn that job, but he was a healthy scratch along with fellow rookie Dee Winters.
Christian McCaffrey then everyone else
McCaffrey total snaps: 58
The 49ers’ distribution of snaps for their running backs might change week-to-week, but Sunday made it appear as though McCaffrey is on track for a huge workload in 2023. He only missed 10 snaps, all of which went to Elijah Mitchell, while Jordan Mason was relegated to 17 special teams snaps. Perhaps the lack of two-RB snaps had to do with the way San Francisco controlled the game, but it’ll definitely be interesting to see how they make divide that workload moving forward.
Somehow the 49ers came out of Week 1 without answering any of the questions about their nickel CB spot. Thomas only out-snapped Oliver by one on defense 34-33, and it appears San Francisco will go matchup-based with their deployment of their third CBs. Oliver is a bigger corner who offers different matchup problems than Lenoir who kicks into the slot when Thomas is in the game. This will be something worth tracking moving forward. The snaps might’ve just been because of how the game went, but the team has a lot of versatility in the secondary so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they tried playing the matchups with their third CB.