Big games for Trent Williams, Tyler Higbee, Marco Wilson: NFC West Stock Watch

The San Francisco 49ers have their third starting quarterback this season. But the Niners still boast one of the most explosive offenses in the NFL because of the performance of the team’s offensive line, led by dominant left tackle Trent Williams.

The Oklahoma product is an athletic freak who can stop talented pass rushers from getting to QB Brock Purdy, along with the nimble feet and raw power to stack defenders in the second tier in the running game.

Niner’s tight end George Kittle names Williams the best player in football regardless of position.

Williams earned his 10th Pro Bowl call this season and is likely on course for another All-Pro nod as one of the top blindside protectors in the game. He’s given up just one sack in 403 pass-block snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. And Williams is the top-rated tackle, according to PFF scores.

San Francisco’s offensive line is ranked sixth in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. With 103 total presses, the 49ers have yielded fourth lowest in the league this season.

“It’s so hard to go forward when you’re looking back, isn’t it?” Williams said of playing against his former team in Washington last week, a 37-20 win for San Francisco. “If you were driving home and you were looking in the rearview mirror the whole time, you would probably have an accident.

“I look forward to adding another ring and continuing to stack Pro Bowls, hopefully back-to-back All-Pro seasons. That’s what I’m concentrating on. I don’t focus on turbulence or trials and tribulations that I’ve overcome, that sort of thing.”

Even with “Mr. Irrelevant” under the center rolls the offensive from San Francisco. The 49ers are averaging 31 points per game in Purdy’s three starts and have a total of 532 rushing yards in three games. Purdy was only dismissed four times in these contests.

While Purdy deserves credit for how efficiently he ran the offense, Williams and the offensive line gave the QB ample time in the passing game and created a buffer for the rookie by consistently clearing lanes to lead the football.

Williams’ standout play headlines this week’s NFC West Stock Watch:


Niner’s LT Trent Williams: Williams was drafted fourth overall in 2010 and at 34 is still playing at a high level, which is pretty amazing given his injury history.

Williams explained earlier this season why it’s probably not wise for defensemen to use his stance to guess whether the 49ers are running or passing the ball.

Los Angeles Rams TE Tyler Higbee: The Western Kentucky product had its best game of the season in a runaway win over the Denver Broncos last week, ending with nine catches for 94 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

Higbee’s efforts helped the Rams surpass 50 points for the first time since a 54-51 win over the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11 of the 2018 season. The Rams did not face the Broncos, and Denver head coach Nathaniel Hackett was fired after the game.

Arizona Cardinals cb Marco Wilson: While the Cardinals lost to the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime last week, Wilson had a productive game, beating Tom Brady twice to keep Arizona close.

Wilson now has three interceptions this year, including one returned for a touchdown, 10 pass break-ups and a forced fumble.


Seattle Seahawks WR DK Metcalf: Ole Miss’s product was the most prolific in Seattle Receiver that year with 86 receptions for 1,005 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

However, during a streak in which Seattle has lost five of six games, Metcalf had just one game for 100+ receiving yards and scored two total touchdowns. Metcalf has also been flagged for eight penalties, including three for unsportsmanlike conduct in the last six games.

Metcalf is one of the highest paid receivers in the league. With veteran receiver Tyler Lockett working his way back from a broken hand, the Seahawks need more performance and leadership from Metcalf in the last two games to reach the postseason.

Seahawk’s OLB Bruce Irvin: The 35-year veteran provided defense on his return to Seattle this season but hasn’t been as productive of late.

Irvin has just one sack and five pressings in his last five games and played a season-low 23 snaps against the Chiefs last week. The Seahawks have dropped just four sacks in the team’s last five losses and need a more consistent pass rush to end the season properly.

QB of the Arizona Cardinals Spur McSorley: The Penn State product was put in a tight spot and prompted to make its first NFL start as Arizona’s third string quarterback due to injuries to Kyler Murray and Colt McCoy last week.

McSorley finished 24 of 45 for 217 yards and an interception against the Bucs. And while he played well enough to put the Cardinals in position to win, the fact that DeAndre Hopkins was targeted 10 times but ended up receiving for four yards explains Arizona’s inability to score more than 16 points bring the board. McCoy is expected to return to the starting XI later this week.

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Eric D. Williams has been covering the NFL for more than a decade, covering the Los Angeles Rams for Sports Illustrated, the Los Angeles Chargers for ESPN and the Seattle Seahawks for the Tacoma News Tribune. Follow him on Twitter at @eric_d_williams.

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