Grades, analysis from SF 49ers turnover-prone Week 10 loss to Saints

Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Nick Mullens #4 of the San Francisco 49ers (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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Alvin Kamara, Emmanuel Moseley, SF 49ers, New Orleans Saints
Emmanuel Moseley #41 of the San Francisco 49ers attempts to tackle Alvin Kamara #41 of the New Orleans Saints (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

SF 49ers defensive grades

The SF 49ers defense played surprisingly well against a vaunted Saints offense, though short fields and sudden changes made the box score look much worse than the effort was.

Defensive Line: B

First things first. Javon Kinlaw got his first sack in the NFL, and it was a good sign for the rookie who had been always a step too late to finish the play. Had to feel good for him.

Overall, the SF 49ers had a good game on the line. Kamara never broke a run free, and although at the end the rushing stats began to flip in favor of the Saints, the Niners did a good job when the game was in the balance.

On the pass-rush side of things, Kentavius Street had an outstanding move to sack Saints quarterback Drew Brees, only for an asinine roughing the passer to be called, negating the would-be sack. The hit, though, injured Brees, knocking him out of the game in the second half. When Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill took the lead, the Niners pass rush started to click more, finishing with three sacks.

It was a fine performance for the defensive line, if not prolific.

Linebackers: C+

Fred Warner played his usual dominating All-Pro game, although he had a facemask penalty that couldn’t really be avoided. It didn’t cause much harm, but it is a negative, if there has to be one for him.

Dre Greenlaw, on the other hand, was picked on by the Saints, especially when matched up with Kamara. Although Kamara isn’t a good matchup for most linebackers, Greenlaw’s high tackle number comes as a result of chasing down Kamara.

His performance pushes the Niners linebackers down to a C-level, though overall the unit was adequate.

Secondary: B+

The secondary did its job against Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas. Though partly because of the short fields and partly because of the Brees injury, the secondary wasn’t really tested either.

When Kamara is the leading receiver for the Saints, things worked out well for the secondary.

I want to highlight safety Tarvarius Moore, a player who got his chance following Jaquiski Tartt’s injury. Those of you who have read a few of my pieces know my affinity for Moore, and his start opposite Jimmie Ward was a perfect sign why. His speed is game-changing in the back-end, and he always goes for the ball. He forced a fumble on the Saints’ Taysom Hill on the late game, a sign of his talent and nose for the ball.