MMQB: NFL playoffs are locked, head coach firings begin



The 2019 NFL regular season would end, naturally, on a review. But before that, there was a furious, Russell Wilson-led comeback, a costly delay-of-game penalty that prevented us from watching Pete Carroll having to decide on whether to run Marshawn Lynch from the one again and, finally, a little-known 49ers rookie linebacker putting the brakes on the game’s final possession at his own six-inch line.

San Francisco had the second pick in April’s draft. Eight months later, the team finished with the second-best record in football. The Niners are 13–3, the No. 1 seed in the NFC, and it’s all thanks to Dre Greenlaw.

Here’s your setup: Fourth-and-five from the Niners’ six, Seahawks with the ball and trailing 26–21, Russell Wilson in the shotgun, three receivers to left, one to his right, with a back offset to that side, too. At the snap, Greenlaw saw running back Travis Homer flare out into the right flat, so he shuffled that way. But as he read Wilson’s eyes, he saw the quarterback looking in the other direction, so he planted his foot, and started moving back to his right.

“I’m shuffling back where he’s looking, because the more time he takes, the more the slant is gonna be inside,” Greenlaw said from the Niners’ locker room. “I sit back, start shuffling inside, and then I realized basically the guy is running across the field. And just I knew it was fourth down and I knew the game was on the line and I’d just have to empty the tank.”

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