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Countdown to Kickoff: Buccaneers-49ers, Week 11 2023

The Buccaneers will face the 49ers on Sunday in Santa Clara … Key stats, lineup notes and more


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will meet the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday in California after both clubs snapped losing streaks in Week 10. The Bucs made the same West Coast trip last year as the 49ers handed the Bucs a 35-7 trouncing at Levi's Stadium in Brock Purdy's first career start. This season, the Bucs are coming off an impressive 20-6 victory over the Titans in which the defense amassed 13 quarterback hits, four sacks and 10 tackles for loss. The unit will look to continue the trend against the 49ers' loaded cast including Christian McCaffrey, George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Trent Williams, and Brandon Aiyuk. After a week of preparation, here is what the contest comes down to:

4 Stats that Matter

  • Brock Purdy leads the NFL with 9.3 passing yards per attempt and a 109.9 passer rating in 2023. He has a 143.0 passer rating on deep passes (20-plus air yards) in 2023.
  • Brandon Aiyuk leads the NFL with 17.8 yards per reception in 2023 (minimum of 30 receptions). He is tied for the third-most receptions (27) and fourth-most receiving yards (558) on downfield targets in 2023.
  • The 49ers' defense has a 40.4 quarterback pressure percentage in 2023 (fifth in the NFL). Nick Bosa leads the team with 47 quarterback pressures (sixth-most in the NFL) and Javon Hargrave has 39 quarterback pressures in 2023 (second-most by a defensive tackle). Bosa leads the NFL with 21 quarterback hits in 2023.
  • Christian McCaffrey leads the NFL with 747 rushing yards in 2023 (second in the NFL with nine rushing touchdowns). His 1,086 yards from scrimmage ranks second in the NFL and McCaffrey is the only player that has accounted for 30-plus percent of the team's scrimmage yards in 2023.

3 Lineup Notes

  • The Bucs will be without starting safety Ryan Neal on Sunday against San Francisco, but the position group has viable depth and versatile options. Dee Delaney would presumably start in Neal's place In Week 11 after he has received increased playing time at that safety spot over the previous two weeks. Against the Texans in Week Nine, Delaney began replacing Neal in certain passing situations, and by the conclusion of the matchup, he was playing every down. Delaney played 37 snaps against the Titans last week and will likely see that number rise against the 49ers.
  • Four players were listed as questionable for the Buccaneers ahead of the Week 11 matchup: Devin White (foot), Carlton Davis III (toe), Matt Feiler (knee) and Josh Hayes (concussion). All participated in practice on Friday in a full capacity and are trending in a positive direction.
  • For the 49ers, offensive lineman Aaron Banks (toe) has been ruled out for a second-straight game as he progresses through turf toe that he sustained in Week Eight against the Cincinnati Bengals. In addition, guard Nick Zakelj (biceps) was ruled out of the matchup for San Francisco.

2 Challenges Presented by the 49ers

Kyle Shanahan utilizes an inventive system geared towards achieving yards after catch through zone-read schemes to set up play-action with pre-snap motion to undress defensive coverages and force mental mistakes by opposing defenses The 49ers' stress C-gap assignments by driving defenders back with the second-level blocking of Trent Williams, tight end George Kittle and fullback Kyle Juszcyk. The unit features an intimidating cast of skill players that create matchup problems all over the field. Brock Purdy has an arsenal of talent at his disposal, including hybrid receiver/running back Deebo Samuel, triple-threat George Kittle, former Panthers' Swiss Army Knife Christian McCaffrey, vertical threat Brandon Aiyuk and versatile chess piece Kyle Juszcyk. The 49ers heavily use multiple personnel groupings with essentially five eligible receivers that can line up anywhere on any given play. Williams, a sure-fire first-ballot Hall of Famer, sets the tone in the run game and often serves as a menacing puller, flying off the ball and getting downhill to elongate rush lanes.

Defensively, the 49ers added Chase Young at the trade deadline to an already loaded front, including the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in Nick Bosa and one of the best complete linebacker tandems in the league with Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw. The Niners added defensive tackle Javon Hargrave during the offseason to solidify the interior and both Bosa and Hargrave are tied for the team lead with 4.5 sacks. The 49ers' defense ranks fifth in the league (304.6) as the unit continues to impose its will. The Niners operate out of a one-gap system, which allows linemen to penetrate and fire off the ball. Steve Wilks makes a concerted effort to create favorable one-on-one scenarios for Bosa and Young with certain packages. Their pass rush allows Warner and Greenlaw to flow freely, shutting down the middle of the field with instinctual play, sideline-to-sideline range and coverage skills.

1 Key Thought from Kacy Rodgers

On San Francisco's offense:

"It's the way they use their people. They're all over the place. We just watched a couple of plays where [Christian] McCaffrey was at the 'X' and Deebo [Samuel] was at tailback. That's a problem if you're in man coverage because now you've got a run-fit issue, a coverage issue or you've got people playing positions that they don't usually play… or, if you stay regular, you've got a bad matchup somewhere. They create matchups and the way they utilize their people is just really impressive."

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