Fri, 08 Dec 2023

Four Downs: Underrated Playmakers to Watch For in 49ers vs. Dolphins

San Francisco 49ers
05 Dec 2022, 04:44 GMT+10

Briana McDonald

The San Francisco 49ers are set to face the Miami Dolphins at Levi's® Stadium for their Week 13 contest. Both San Francisco and Miami are coming off of winning streaks and the two teams will battle it out on Sunday to earn a solid spot towards the top of their respective divisions.

"We're ready for whatever may come our way," defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans said. "The Dolphins are a really good offense, but it's things that we've seen before... As well as they're on it, defensively, we have to be on it 10 times better as they are on it. If we do that, we'll like the results of the game."

For this week's Four Downs, 49ers team reporter Lindsey Pallares and 49ers Spanish insider Jesús Zarate have joined me to break down several storylines ahead of the team's Week 13 contest against Miami. We also answer questions directly from the Faithful exclusive for the 49ers Supporters Club. To get your questions answered, sign up for the 49ers Supporters Club here.

1st Down: Matchup to Watch vs. the Dolphins?

@LindseyLares: SF's pass rush vs. Tua Tagovailoa

The matchup to watch this weekend is the 49ers pass rush versus Miami's quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. We've heard about the tremendous talent and speed of Dolphins wideouts Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle all week, and Tagovailoa is another big part of Miami's explosive offense. Tagovailoa is accurate and efficient, and he's mobile enough to make some big-time plays. The 49ers have to put the pressure on Miami's quarterback to throw off his game and make it that much tougher for Tagovailoa to get the ball to his offensive weapons. The 49ers are coming off of a three-sack outing and a slew of other significant defensive plays, so if they can repeat that performance, they'll be a difficult team to beat.

@JesusZarate87: Miami's receivers vs. SF's secondary

Hill has 87 receptions for 1,233 yards and four touchdowns on the season. Waddle has 56 receptions for 963 yards and six touchdowns this year. San Francisco's defense has not allowed any points in the second half of their last four games. So the 49ers need to find a way to slow down Hill and Waddle. That will be an interesting matchup all day.

@BriMcDonaldTV: SF's running backs vs. Miami's defense

The Dolphins are the league's second-hardest defense for opposing running backs to gain yards against, allowing an average of just 3.7 yards per carry to RBs. With Elijah Mitchell out and Deebo Samuel questionable for the Week 13 contest, the 49ers will have to rely on Christian McCaffrey leading their run game and rookie backups Jordan Mason and Tyrion Davis-Price to step up for the team.

2nd Down: Key Statistic for a 49ers Win?

@LindseyLares: Turnover battle

There's a lot of different ways to win, but it never hurts to keep the ball in the hands of your offense. The 49ers didn't turn the ball over once against New Orleans and came out on top. It's not the only stat that matters, but it is one of the key parts of the team's formula to success.

@JesusZarate87: Time of possession

If the 49ers are able to control the clock with long drives and keep Miami's explosive offense on the sidelines that will give them a great chance to get the win.

@BriMcDonaldTV: Pass breakups, forcing incompletions and interceptions

The 49ers secondary will have a big game ahead of them on Sunday, as Tagovailoa leads the league in average yards per pass (9.0). Should San Francisco's passing defense play a clean game with sticky coverage and find a way to get their hands on the ball, it will definitely bode well for the team's success.

3rd Down: Underrated Playmaker to Keep Your Eye On?

@LindseyLares: RB Jordan Mason

I wouldn't say that running back Jordan Mason is underrated- he's more so young and building up his experience - but he's the playmaker that I am keeping an eye on come Sunday. Mason played his most substantial reps at running back in Week 12 against the Saints, carrying the ball five times for 25 yards. Most of Mason's playing time came in the fourth quarter after McCaffrey, Samuel and Mitchell missed snaps due to injury, and it's likely he'll be getting more reps again this week with Mitchell sidelined for the next six to eight weeks. The rookie's teammates were impressed with his physical style of running and his commitment to taking care of the ball. We've only seen a small sample size of Mason, but I expect that to change in the coming weeks.

@JesusZarate87: WR Jauan Jennings

When we think about the 49ers offense, we usually mention Deebo Samuel, Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey and George Kittle, but Jennings has proven that he is also a great weapon for Jimmy Garoppolo. The receiver is constantly moving the chains on third down. This past week against the Saints, he registered six receptions for 49 yards and one touchdown. Jennings could be another key contributor this week.

@BriMcDonaldTV: DL Samson Ebukam

Last week against the Saints, Ebukam made a big-time play recovering a fumbled ball that linebacker Fred Warner had forced from running back Alvin Kamara that set up a scoring drive for the 49ers. The lineman also tied Nick Bosa for a team high of quarterback hits to Andy Dalton, so his presence is a great help for the 49ers defense and is definitely a player to watch for.

4th Down: What is Your Bold Prediction for the Week 13 Matchup Against the Dolphins?

@LindseyLares: The 49ers defense will not allow the Dolphins to score a second half point, and the defensive second half shutout streak will extend to five-straight games.

@JesusZarate87: San Francisco's defense will be able to slow down Hill and Waddle. They will not allow each of them more than 40 yards receiving.

@BriMcDonaldTV: The 49ers will finsih the game with more receiving yards than Miami.

--- VOTE

Pro Bowl voting for the 2022-23 season is open. Be sure to cast your votes daily for your favorite 49ers players here.

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