San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Arik Armstead had a free run at Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton last week and whiffed.
On Sunday, it will not get any easier for the 49ers’ pass rush to take down the opposing quarterback. The Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson might be playing on a bum ankle, but he is still not an easy player to bring down behind the line of scrimmage.
“Russell and Cam and Big Ben (Roethlisberger) are probably the best escape artists,” Armstead said. “Russell is different because he’s shorter, he has a lower center of gravity and he’s shiftier. So you got to bend your knees when you try to tackle him.”
A week ago, in the 49ers’ 46-27 loss to the Panthers, Armstead was not able to follow-through on what he was taught to do against Newton.
“Coaches told me to attack his throwing arm, and I didn’t do that on that play, so he was able to side-step me,” Armstead said. “I was supposed to attack his throwing arm, and make him spin back.”
The Seahawks’ offensive line is one of the team’s weaker units, but Wilson is able to use his elusiveness to avoid sacks, keep his eyes down the field and hit big plays.
“I missed three sacks on him last year, so I know I have to break down and get ready to react to his movements,” Armstead said.
At 6 foot 7, Armstead compared his job to challenges he faced going up against smaller players on the basketball court.
“It’s like trying to guard a point guard and you’re a post player,” he said. “You got to move your feet and stay in front of him, try to coral him. It’s not just you out there. It’s everyone out there working together to try to corral him.
“Quarterbacks are getting more mobile by the year. In Week 4, we have (Dallas Cowboys quarterback) Dak Prescott. He’s mobile, as well. That’s the way the league is becoming.”