SF 49ers position grades, analysis after costly Week 2 win vs. NY Jets

Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Jimmy Garoppolo #10 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /
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Nick Bosa, SF 49ers
EAST RUTHERFORD, NEW JERSEY – SEPTEMBER 20: Nick Bosa #97 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers Defensive Grades

Despite a bevy of injuries, the Niners defense held strong and flashed at times, putting a workmanlike effort.

Defensive Line: B

The defensive line constantly was buzzing with pressure early on, though the Jets countered it with quick passes. However, Arik Armstead missed a sack on a third down and the next plays after that were the flood of injuries, including a likely ACL tear for Nick Bosa.

After that, the pressure was less potent, but it was constant. The Niners got a sack, courtesy of Armstead, and generally, they made life miserable for Jets quarterback Sam Darnold. It wasn’t an elite performance, but it was plenty good enough, especially with all the players they were lacking.

Linebackers: A

The SF 49ers linebackers have the potential to be the best in the entire league, and when they are committed and disciplined, they play like it.

Fred Warner had himself a typical elite day with 12 tackles, Kwon Alexander wasn’t glaring over-anxious, and he made some plays, and Dre Greenlaw was quietly efficient while healthy.

The biggest play of the game, injuries notwithstanding, was a fourth-down stop with the Jets marching that essentially ended any momentum for their offense.

And like most good things for the SF 49ers defense, it was led by Fred Warner:

Overall it was a good game from the 49ers linebackers. No mistakes means they get an A-grade.

Secondary: B-

The way the Jets tried to combat the Niners pass rush was by hitting the flats and slants, taking advantage of soft coverage by the 49ers. Safety Jimmie Ward was playing too far away and was unable to stop a barrage of flat passes. The corners gave up 8-yard curls and outs quite often.

In the second half, things started to get better, thanks to an adjustment from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh with more aggressive man coverage. That said, the secondary still just played alright. Ahkello Witherspoon had himself a relatively rough day, though not terrible by any standards. Emmanuel Moseley had a penalty. That was about it.

The Jets offense midway through the second quarter became anemic, and the SF 49ers just let them fail on their own. Out of the three major position groups on defense, the secondary played the worst. They were just average.