49ers defensive grades
The 49ers defense managed to limit Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson to an extent, but there were still noticeable gaps and flaws which allowed the MVP front-runner to break loose.
Defensive Line: B-
The 49ers must have told their defensive linemen to crash every single play, because they crashed every single play. This grade would be much lower, but with the amount of times they played the running back, one could assume that was the call.
If there was one thing the Niners defensive line did well, it was not allowing Jackson to run on dropbacks. The contain by the pass rush was there, and it was strong.
But the run defense, a weak spot for this vaunted unit, was a little shaky. Baltimore gouged San Francisco’s defense for 178 total yards.
Fred Warner had two terrific pass breakups. He also fell for a brutal play action, giving the Ravens their first touchdown. But overall, Warner had a good game. The outside linebackers? Not so much.
Going off the last entry, with the 49ers defensive line crashing the entire game, it was clear the linebackers were supposed to hit the outside gaps and play contain on Jackson. If that was the play call, it was not well executed at all.
The linebackers were eaten up by all sorts of fakes, never being able to get in position to stop Jackson. It was a brutal performance by rookies Azeez Al-Shaair and Dre Greenlaw, but it was a performance which will force them to adapt and learn. The 49ers don’t play many read-option teams and probably won’t for a while, except the Seahawks and quarterback Russell Wilson, but these linebackers were not ready for this game.
The 49ers secondary played incredibly well. Jimmie Ward had a great pass breakup to force a fourth down, and safety Marcell Harris, who came in for the injured Jaquiski Tartt, forced a Jackson fumble, something that hadn’t happened before this year.
The Ravens did not really target their wide receivers, so there weren’t many times they were tested. When they were though, they answered the call.