SF 49ers grades, position analysis from Week 7 win vs. Patriots

San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) with running back Jeff Wilson (30) and tight end George Kittle (85) Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco 49ers fullback Kyle Juszczyk (44) with running back Jeff Wilson (30) and tight end George Kittle (85) Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports /
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Fred Warner, SF 49ers
Fred Warner, San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers defensive grades


It’s tough to be too harsh on the defensive line given their two top EDGEs are out, and the 49ers are essentially hosting a casting call on who can fill the gap.

And it’s even tougher today, after a nice game versus New England.

The stats will say the 49ers only had two sacks for the game and only one by a defensive lineman (right at the end in garbage time to finish the game), but it doesn’t tell the full story for the group.

This unit was putting pressure on Cam Newton a lot of the time, forcing him into rushed passes and even underthrowing some on perceived pressure.

The Patriots were never able to build momentum either passing or rushing, New England was generally not effective running the ball and had to abandon it early after falling into a deficit anyway.

Dee Ford needs to come back soon, and if the 49ers can get an elite edge rusher back, then the defensive line would be complete in terms of the tools it needs for a playoff push.


I love Fred Warner.

Last week, I wrote I now considered Fred Warner to be the best player on the 49ers defense with that including a healthy EDGE, Nick Bosa, and a healthy cornerback Richard Sherman.

Bosa is the best pass-rusher, Sherman is the best leader, but Warner is the best all-around defender.

This game made me feel completely vindicated in this belief, as Warner was an absolute blanket in coverage and recorded an interception on a weird sort of throw from Newton:

Dre Greenlaw recorded a sack and was pretty good in coverage himself, while I didn’t notice Azeez Al-Shaair much (in a good way) as he went about his business in a competent fashion.

They were a man down, but the 49ers linebacking corps did not care one bit. They were the most impressive positional group for me with the possible exception of the running backs.


It’d probably be fairer to look more at the linebackers when it comes to your basic coverage work, given Newton didn’t look deep too often.

But the defensive backs still did their job perfectly, and they came to play with three interceptions on the day.

Fill-in nickel cornerback Jamar Taylor snagged two interceptions, one off a deflection and the other off some tight coverage. It was his best game for San Francisco, and despite some liabilities in coverage he does look like he could be a reliable backup.

Emmanuel Moseley snagged the other interception off an overthrown deep ball, and returned the ball into SF 49ers territory late in the second half to give his team a chance at bonus points to finish the half.

Starting corner Jason Verrett played well, while backup safeties Marcell Harris and Tarvarius Moore were rarely tested but never beaten while contributing five tackles each.

The coverage clamped down from start to finish.