This is the second part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Chiefs matchups to watch Sunday, 1:25 p.m., Levi’s Stadium.
49ers RT Jonathan Martin vs. Chiefs OLB Justin Houston
Tale of the tape
Martin (71): 6 foot 5, 312 pounds, third season, Stanford
Houston (50): 6 foot 3, 258 pounds, third season, Georgia
Martin is expected to make his fourth start in the 49ers’ first five games, as Anthony Davis has not practiced this week after sustaining sprains to his left knee and ankle against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Martin has surrendered three sacks this season, and does not supply much power as a run-blocker.
Houston is tied for the NFL lead with five sacks. He is well on his way to a third consecutive season with double-digit sacks. Each of Houston’s five sacks this season have come when he lines up on the left side –- against the right side of the opponent’s offensive line.
"He’s really good running the rim," 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman said. "He can really race the edge of the pocket and turn the corner. And if a tackle overcommits to the outside he’s athletic enough to stick his foot in the ground and get back inside. So he’s a very athletic guy coming off the edge, but can get from zero to 60 very quickly."
Martin and right guard Alex Boone will have to be working well together to contain Houston.
On Monday night, Houston worked a couple of stunts against New England rookie guard Cameron Fleming to blow past him for sacks on Tom Brady. Martin will have a difficult time against the speed-rush of Houston, so he’ll have to do a lot better in the run game on a defender against whom he holds a size advantage.