This unit did experience some success rushing the passer, notching four total sacks. Defensive lineman Elvis Dumervil was the most effective, registering 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hits.
The emerging star that is defensive lineman DeForest Buckner also had a nice game as well with 0.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and a pair of run stops. It was another productive day for Buckner, who graded out at 85.3 for PFF (the second highest of any 49ers player).
But besides that, it was not a good overall performance from the defensive line. Arik Armstead had a poor game, and struggled with containing the run. The whole line had issues with the Colts rushing attack — well, with running back Marlon Mack.
For the game, Mack finished with nine carries for 91 yards and a touchdown. As a team, Indianapolis rushed for 159 yards on 35 carries. Brissett was able to roll out of the pocket on occasion too, and avoided a few sacks.
This is something that I personally hate to be writing. Linebacker NaVorro Bowman is a shell of his former self. It’s just so glaring Bowman’s lack of explosiveness and ability to be agile. That’s just what happens you suffer two devastating injuries to your lower body.
And it’s becoming apparent to the San Francisco coaching staff too, as Bowman was on the sidelines for parts of the game. Call it what you want, but it was the team making an active decision to remove Bowman from the field because they felt the defense was better suited without him.
"We had a conversation and, uh, I don’t know – they’re doing what they want to do and, I don’t know. I don’t like it, he said. No one likes coming out of the game, but I’m a team player."
That was Bowman after the game (h/t Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee). Even though Bowman did lead the team with 10 tackles, it’s clear the 49ers’ dynamic with the veteran linebacker has shifted.
Linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong had a decent game with a key interception in overtime to give San Francisco a chance to win the game and totaling seven tackles. On the flip side, linebacker Brock Coyle badly missed on tackling Mack during his long overtime run. In total, not a good showing from the unit.
After an extremely rough outing last week, cornerback Rashard Robinson had a bounce-back performance. In pass coverage, Robinson was formidable:
Robinson cleaned up his play from the game against the Cardinals, and was able to actually be impactful in stopping the pass. He did admittedly struggle with run coverage, missing Mack on a tackle that almost lead to a touchdown. Overall though it was still good enough of a showing to earn a 85.7 grade from PFF, which was the highest of any 49ers player.
Outside of Robinson, it was bad as wide receiver T.Y. Hilton abused the deep ball and racked up 177 yards on seven receptions. That’s 25.3 yards a catch — ouch. For the game, Brissett finished 22-34 passing for 314 yards and one interception. So, credit the unit for not conceding a touchdown.