After a stout showing last week against the Kansas City Chiefs, which featured the 49ers only giving up 31 rushing yards, the defensive line wasn’t as impressive versus the Broncos.
The first-team defense did hold starting running C.J. Anderson to 24 yards on seven carries, a formidable showing. But over the course of the game, Denver found a way to rush the ball, all the way to a total of 146 yards.
Quarterback Paxton Lynch broke off a pair of scrambles too, frustratingly enough. As well as failing to stop the run, the defensive line registered only two sacks.
The essentially non-existent quarterback pressure is worrisome; granted the 49ers best pass rushers were off the field for the most of the game. Nonetheless, it was a stark contrast to the performance against the Chiefs.
With rookie linebacker Reuben Foster formally being named the starting linebacker this past week alongside NaVorro Bowman, it was a signal by the franchise: this is our guy. In the short time he was on the field, he definitely shined.
He again displayed his improved coverage skills, batting down a pass. And he also showed he has some wheels:
It was also encouraging to see him out there suited up, considering he was limited in practice earlier this week with an AC joint injury.
Another rookie linebacker was in the mix too, with Pita Taumoepenu notching his first sack of the preseason:
It was a mixed day for the secondary. Strong safety Eric Reid was maybe the 49ers best player for the game, while cornerback Rashard Robinson had a rough outing.
Regarding Reid, the fifth-year safety looked real explosive out there. Coverage skills, big hits, making tackles — he was doing it all. Reid is definitely one of the top players on this 49ers defense.
With Robinson, it’s a hot topic considering the praise that was being heaped onto him. It’s clear that the cornerback is not ready yet to make the jump to being a perennial shutdown defensive back. Robinson’s poor play was highlighted by pass interference on Denver’s second offensive series, resulting in a touchdown:
Also, undrafted free agent safety Lorenzo Jerome is most likely going to make the final 53-man roster. Jerome performed good today while playing a ton of snaps. Especially with free safety Jimmie Ward’s hamstring still not fully healed, Jerome is vital for the depth.