49ers grades, analysis from refreshing Week 8 win vs. Bears
By Peter Panacy
49ers Week 8 Grades: Secondary
Injuries already played a factor in the 49ers’ defensive backfield leading up to Week 8 with strong safety Jaquiski Tartt being out with a knee injury, and the Niners took another hit by losing free safety Jimmie Ward to a quad injury.
It’s not yet clear how serious Ward’s injury is, but reserve safety Tavon Wilson had to come in and contribute in a pinch.
So did the fifth-round rookie, Talanoa Hufanga, who surrendered Justin Fields’ touchdown pass to tight end Jesse James, although Fields’ pass was pretty noteworthy.
Inconsistent play also dogged San Francisco’s cornerbacks, namely Josh Norman, whose sixth defensive penalty against leads the team after he was flagged for a holding call. Additionally, fellow corner Emmanuel Moseley was one of many who frequently gave up too big a cushion to Chicago’s receiving targets. It would have been much better to see defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans call for more press coverage knowing Fields hasn’t used much of a deep passing attack so far this season.
Norman made up for it a bit with a last-second interception, only the 49ers’ second on the year, but he has yet to get away from the “high risk, high reward” association.
More troubling, if anything, is the fact Fields completed 70.4 percent of his passes, his highest mark as a starter over the course of his young career.