SF 49ers: Defensive grade against NY Jets Sam Darnold

Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets; Kerry Hyder #92 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images)
Sam Darnold #14 of the New York Jets; Kerry Hyder #92 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images) /

How did the SF 49ers defense perform against the NY Jets’ Sam Darnold?

The SF 49ers 31-13 Week 2 victory against the NY Jets might be one of the rare times when a win feels like a loss.

That, of course, is due to the numerous injuries suffered by the Niners. Head coach Kyle Shanahan expressed his concern that it may have been due to issues with the new turf at MetLife Stadium. 

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo played through an ankle injury in the first half of the game. He threw a pair of touchdowns in that half but did not return to the field for the second half. The final diagnosis was a high-ankle sprain, which would likely keep him off the field for a few games.

Running back Raheem Mostert also left the game early and did not return in the second half. He apparently suffered a knee injury, which might hold him out of a few games as well.

The extra-devastating injuries, though, were suffered by defensive lineman Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas. Bosa appeared to have a torn ACL that would likely end his 2020 season. Thomas also appeared to injure his knee, but Shanahan thought it may not be as serious as Bosa’s injury.

Losing Bosa and Thomas were huge for a defense already missing it’s Pro Bowl cornerback, Richard Sherman, due to injury.

So how did the banged-up defense fare against the NY Jets and, specifically against their quarterback, Sam Darnold?

Let’s take a look.

SF 49ers defense against the pass

Unlike in their Week 1 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, limiting the quarterback’s yards rushing was not a priority against Darnold.

In the 2019 season, Darnold averaged 232.6 yards passing per game and 6.9 yards per attempt. Against the 49ers defense, Darnold threw for 179 yards and one touchdown with an average of 5.6 yards per attempt.

The 49ers defense was able to hold Darnold slightly under his yards-per-attempt average and heavily under his yards-per-game average.

It looks even better when considering that a chunk of that total yardage came in garbage time. Darnold’s lone touchdown came with 1:23 left in the game on a 30-yard pass to wide receiver Braxton Berrios. At that point, many of the Niners backup players were on the field for that defensive series.

If that is taken into consideration, the 49ers defensive starters essentially held Darnold and the Jets out of the end zone.

With that being said, the SF 49ers defense performed extremely well against Darnold even in the face of adversity. For that stellar performance, with two of their key defensive starters being injured, they receive a top grade.

The great bounce-back win the 49ers defense had over the Jets and Darnold nets them a grade of A.

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Hopefully, the injury-ravaged defensive unit can rally and put on another great performance against quarterback Daniel Jones and NY Giants next week. And hopefully, the turf issues are resolved before gameday next Sunday.