No. 4: The secondary strikes back
It was nice to see the secondary perform like it was expected to coming into the season. With poor execution for much of the season, blowing assignments and coverage, this unit was on point Sunday.
Safety D.J. Reed had an amazing game, starting at nickel corner for injured cornerback K’Waun Williams. He led the 49ers in tackles with a total of 12, including three tackles for a loss. He also recorded one sack and one quarterback hit. In his rookie season for the Niners, Reed has seen increased game time due to injuries with safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward. With Ward unlikely to be re-signed by the 49ers, Reed is making a case for his inclusion as a regular starter.
Cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon had one of hist best games for some time. He could have had an early interception however mistimed his jump just fractionally. He performed better on coverage, with Broncos quarterback Case Keenum, like most quarterbacks attempting to keep the ball away from left cornerback Richard Sherman.
Witherspoon finished with a total of four tackles.
Safety Marcell Harris also showed up. Harris recorded a total of seven tackles including two for a loss. Harris would be instrumental in the fourth quarter, as the Broncos attempted to close the gap. With just under 10 minutes remaining, the Broncos had a 2nd-and-6 at the 49ers’ 25-yard line.
Harris had a hand in the next three plays, resulting in a turnover to the 49ers on their own 22-yard line after stopping running back Phillip Lindsay from reaching the three yards required on the Broncos’ fourth-down try.