With the NFL back in action as all 32 teams are striving to appear in Super Bowl LVI. The San Francisco 49ers are looking to get back to the Super Bowl after missing the playoffs last season due to injuries. They will need all of their players to produce big results, including former Arkansas Razorbacks linebacker and third-year 49ers veteran Dre Greenlaw.
This past Sunday, the 49ers opened their 2021 season by traveling on the road to take on the Detroit Lions, led by 2020 Pro-Bowl tight end T.J. Hockenson and new quarterback Jared Goff. The 49ers needed their defense to suppress the high-volume potential that the Lions possessed. Greenlaw and the 49ers' defense needed to have a big game.
The defense of the 49ers held the Lions to only ten points in the first half. While the offense had a great second quarter by scoring 17 points, the defense also contributed to the scoreboard. As the Lions were looking to cut San Francisco's lead right before halftime, Greenlaw stopped the drive in a big way. Goff forced a pass into triple coverage, where Greenlaw intercepted the ball in zone coverage. Greenlaw ran the ball back for a 39-yard touchdown return to put the 49ers up 28-10.
Greenlaw showed tremendous patience while in zone coverage and waited for the opportunity to have Hockenson finish his dig route with a cornerback on him. The ball was severely underthrown for Goff to make to Hockenson, which left a great opportunity for Greenlaw to pick the ball.
Greenlaw finished with six total tackles, four solo tackles, and the interception that resulted in a touchdown for San Francisco. Later in the game, Greenlaw suffered a groin injury as he only took 40% of the defensive snaps against the Lions.
The Lions outscored the 49ers 23-to-10 in the second half as the presence of Greenlaw was missed for the 49ers. The 49ers won the game 41-33 in a hostile road game to a more hungry Lions team than in the past couple of seasons. Greenlaw's injury is not considered serious as he will be needed to help guide this tenacious defense of the 49ers. Greenlaw is a dynamic defensive playmaker for San Francisco as he can quickly get to the ball carrier, be a pass rusher threat in blitz schemes and create a coverage presence or through man or zone.
Next Sunday, the 49ers (1-0) will have another road test against the Philadelphia Eagles (1-0), led by dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts and 2020 Heisman Trophy winner and rookie wide receiver DeVonta Smith.