49ers Defensive Grades vs. Seahawks
One might have figured San Francisco would have continued Seattle’s season-long issues extending drives, putting the 49ers offense into a position where they’d dominate the time of possession.
Aside from a few splash plays here and there, the Niners defense was less than impressive, and the Seahawks actually won this crucial battle by a factor of 33:12 to 26:48.
Defensive Line: B+
San Francisco sacked quarterback Russell Wilson four times, and EDGEs Nick Bosa, Jordan Willis and Arden Key each got on that tally sheet, while defensive tackle Arik Armstead picked up his third sack of the season, too.
Meanwhile, nose tackle D.J. Jones had two tackles for a loss and also forced a fumble, as did Bosa.
Too bad a couple of roughing-the-passer calls against this unit caused plenty of damage in a Wilson-led scoring drive just before halftime.
Ironically, the 49ers weren’t too bad off without linebackers Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw, who missed the game because of injuries.
This, thanks to fill-in linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair, who has quietly emerged as one of the Niners’ best defenders this season and should be starting despite Greenlaw’s inevitable return.
Al-Shaair led the defense with a whopping 16 tackles and was all over the field, sharing a sack with Key and also forcing a fumble, too.
The weaknesses within San Francisco’s defensive backfield were back on full display on Sunday, as cornerback Josh Norman was back to being a liability, and the 49ers were forced to rely on their inadequate depth with Dontae Johnson and Deommodore Lenoir filling in for an injured Emmanuel Moseley, who had to depart and didn’t return.
Johnson and nickel cornerback K’Waun Williams helped make up for the shortcomings with two takeaways of their own, but overall, the Niners secondary had too few answers trying to defend Seahawks wide receivers D.K. Metcalf and Tyler Lockett.
This position still remains a primary San Francisco weakness.