49ers’ Arik Armstead defends Javon Kinlaw for viral play vs. Eagles
Armstead defends Kinlaw, shoulders blame for viral play originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Countless things went wrong for the 49ers during the NFC Championship Game on Sunday, but one play involving defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw picked up steam online after San Francisco’s loss — and Arik Armstead is coming to his defense.
NFL Network’s Brian Baldinger broke down the play in a clip that now has nearly one million views, and shows Kinlaw being tossed to the side by Philadelphia Eagles offensive linemen Landon Dickerson and Jason Kelce. The block allowed running back Kenneth Gainwell to break off a 17-yard carry.
Baldinger called right defensive tackle, Kinlaw’s position, a “huge issue for the 49ers.”
“You can’t play defensive tackle like this. I don’t care what the name on the back of the jersey is,” Baldinger said in the breakdown. “This isn’t football, this isn’t playoff football, this isn’t championship football — you can’t do this.”
After appearing in only 18 games over his first two seasons with the 49ers due to knee issues, Kinlaw dealt with pain in his surgically-repaired right knee during the 2022 NFL season and missed Weeks 3 through 15. He returned in Week 16 against the Washington Commanders.
Kinlaw’s fellow defensive lineman Armstead responded to Baldinger’s tweet, taking blame for Gainwell’s burst and standing up for his teammate’s abilities.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t just one play that doomed the 49ers’ chances of a Super Bowl appearance. From injuries to penalties, there’s plenty more for San Francisco to think about in the aftermath of the loss.
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One thing that got the 49ers so far this season in the first place is the brotherhood the locker room shares, and Armstead’s defense of Kinlaw is a shining example of that.