It seemed appropriate to head this section with a picture of Mike Pettine, because this game was an epic failure for the defense as a whole. Let’s start with defensive line. They were awful. The defense gave up 245 yards on the ground. 245. Frank Gore and company averaged 5.6 yards per carry. How awful is that? Does that sound like an “elite” defense to any of you? It sure doesn’t sound like one to me. This defensive line is not getting off the blocks at all, nor are they making tackles. The 49ers offensive line took them out, with relative ease.
They didn’t get to the quarterback either. No pressure. The one bright spot was finally hearing the name of Quinton Coples, who made a stop for a loss.
Bryan Thomas and Calvin Pace did record back to back sacks, there was that. Most of us didn’t think that Calvin Pace had a pulse anymore, so it was nice to hear his name called at some point other than announcing the starting lineups.
Other than that, a whole lot of arm tackling was going on, which is just not going to cut it. Defensive systems are complex, but the idea is fairly simple, tackle the guy with the football. Don’t reach out with your arm and swipe, put both your mitts on the guy, wrap him up, and bring him to the ground. That’s it. Until this group starts doing that, they won’t even approach the word, “elite.
The group clearly missed their main squeeze, Darrelle Revis. Although Kyle Wilson only allowed 2 receptions, that was more on Alex Smith than Kyle Wilson’s stellar coverage. Wilson was beaten like a drum pretty much all game long. You saw nothing but receivers running right past him.
And as a whole, the opposing quarterback went 12-21. They allowed him to complete his short, economical throws. Not a good day.
The only bright spot on the day was punter Robert Malone. He had a terrific game, dropping punts inside the twenty, and leaving punts so high in the air that nobody could return them. The 49ers averaged 10 yards per punt return, which was in large part due to the excellent hang time achieved by Malone.
They did nothing else exciting to earn an A, a solid B.
There you have it, the Week 4 report card. Hopefully, we can give out better grades next Tuesday morning.