Brock Purdy, 49ers get A-grades all around after smashing Buccaneers
By Peter Panacy
49ers defensive grades vs. Buccaneers
The Bucs were averaging just a shade over 18 points per game entering Week 14, meaning the Niners defense was likely in a position to feast against Tom Brady and a struggling Tampa Bay offense.
Well, that happened.
Not only was Brady intercepted twice, while San Francisco won the turnover battle 3-to-1, but the Buccaneers managed only 322 yards and averaged just 3.6 yards per play.
Simply put, it was a dominant outing by the 49ers on this side of the ball.
While it won’t command as much attention as Deebo Samuel’s injury, an already shorthanded Niners defensive line watched defensive tackles Kevin Givens and Kerry Hyder exit the game with injuries.
Hopefully, those won’t be serious injuries, but one should point out how effective the rest of San Francisco’s D-line was in pressuring Brady and forcing some errant throws.
Sure, Brady wasn’t sacked. But EDGE Nick Bosa and Co. managed to hit him seven times, and some of those pressures led to the two interceptions and multiple incompletions in key moments.
With the Bucs struggling to run the ball, too, it’s safe to hand out yet another A-grade for this group despite the injuries.
All the talk should focus on All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner, yes, and he was awesome against Tampa Bay.
However, Week 14 should have been a celebration of depth linebackers Dre Greenlaw and Azeez Al-Shaair.
Greenlaw, in particular, finished with a team-high 15 tackles, one pass broken up and a key interception off Brady in the third quarter that helped ensure that the 49ers continued their defensive masterclass:
Al-Shaair, too, forced a late fumble that kept the momentum in the Niners’ favor.
Brady, who was once at the helm of a lethal Buccaneers offense only a year ago, managed to pass for 253 yards on a whopping 55 pass attempts.
There are a lot of reasons for this, but it’s a good sign San Francisco’s defensive backfield was doing a quality job ensuring the Bucs’ passing game wasn’t generating much of any success whatsoever.
Sure, strong safety Talanoa Hufanga looked as if he was beaten badly by Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans on a would-be touchdown early in the game, except a Buccaneers offensive penalty ensured that was a non-issue.
Meanwhile, defensive backs Charvarius Ward and Jimmie Ward each recorded eight tackles apiece, and no Bucs receiving target reached 60 yards through the air.