49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Lions


49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Lions

The 49ers' defense held Matthew Stafford to 133 yards passing in the game's first 57 minutes. This is a quarterback who had thrown for more than 350 yards in each of his past three games.The Detroit Lions finally punctured the 49ers' defense in the closing minutes, with a poorly defended screen play going for 50 yards. The Lions ended up getting into the end zone with 1:29 remaining in the 49ers' 27-19 victory at Candlestick Park on Sunday night.Stafford threw for 97 yards on the final drive and finished with a stat line of 19 of 32 for 230 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 78.9.REWIND: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 27, Lions 19
All in all, it was another strong showing from the 49ers' defense, particularly Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson. The 49ers at times rushed three men, and the coverage on the secondary often made it difficult for Stafford to find anyone open.
Here's the defensive player-by-player breakdown:Defensive line
83-Demarcus Dobbs: He played no snaps on defense, but was involved in 25 plays on special teams.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: The 49ers played their nickel defense for most of the game, so that meant that Sopoaga played only eight snaps at nose tackle. . . . On his first play, he beat a double team to upend running back Kevin Smith for 1-yard gain. He finished with two tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: He played all but one snap on the defensive line. . . Right guard Stephen Peterman got a good block on him to open hole for 7-yard gain in second quarter. . . Working against Peterman, he tripped up quarterback Matthew Stofford for a 9-yard sack in the fourth quarter. He was awarded full credit for the sack. Aldon Smith might end up sharing the sack. McDonald finished with two tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.
92-Will Tukuafu: He did not play any snaps on defense, but he was in on 19 plays on special teams and eight more on offense. . . He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
93-Ian Williams: Was not active (coaches' decision).
94-Justin Smith: He played all 65 defensive snaps. . . Stood up left guard Rob Sims and made tackle of running back Joique Bell for a 2-yard gain despite his helmet flying off. . . Showed quickness to knife past Backus to drop Kevin Smith for no gain in the third quarter. . . He clogged things up on the inside and was a big reason the 49ers allowed just 3.2 yards per rushing attempt despite playing most of the game with only two true defensive linemen. . . He was credited with five tackles.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He played one snap on defense, coming in to replace McDonald, to go along with six plays on special teams.Linebackers
51-Clark Haggans: He suited up for the game but did not play.
52-Patrick Willis: He played every snap at middle linebacker. . . Dropped Calvin Johnson with a high, legal hit for a 4-yard gain in the second quarter. . . Got blocked out of the way by Peterman on play that resulted in Bell's 50-yard gain on a screen play in the fourth quarter. . . Broke up pass for Pettigrew in fourth quarter. . . In coverage against Pettigrew on 9-yard touchdown in the final two minutes. . . He was credited with a team-high nine tackles and one pass defensed.
53-NaVorro Bowman: He played every snap at the "jack" likebacker position. . . Missed a tackle on Johnson, who picked up 7 yards after the catch to convert a third down in the first quarter. . . Sims had a block on him that enabled Bell to pick up 50 yards on a fourth-quarter screen. . . Finished with eight tackles and one pass defensed.
54-Larry Grant: He did not play any on defense, but was on the field for 17 plays on special teams.
55-Ahmad Brooks: He took part in all but five plays on defense when the 49ers went to their "dollar" package. . . Jumped at the line of scrimmage to bat down a Stafford third-down pass in the first quarter with his left hand. . . Dropped into coverage against Johnson and turned to find the ball just as it was arriving in Johnson's grasp for a 24-yard gain down the seam in the second quarter. . . Blew past right tackle Gosder Cherilus to put hit on Stafford to force third-down incomplete pass. . . He was credited with no tackles, one quarterback hit, and one pass defensed.
56-Tavares Gooden: He did not play any on defense, but took part in 17 plays on special teams.
99-Aldon Smith: He played every snap on defense with all but eight of them coming at defensive end in the 49ers' nickel package. In the eight plays the 49ers were in their base defense, Smith played outside linebacker. . . After being asked almost exclusively to rush the passer as a rookie, Smith proved to be very good setting the edge against the run in this game. . . On first play of the game, he easily disengaged with left tackle Jeff Backus to stop Kevin Smith for a 1-yard gain. . . On the next series, Backus was called for a holding penalty against on a run play. . . Dropped into coverage and allowed Bell to get around him at the sideline for a 9-yard gain in second quarter. . . Tossed Backus aside to drop Bell for no gain in third quarter. . . Smith got to Stafford as he was already going down after McDonald tripped him up. After the Elias Sports Bureau, the official NFL statisticians review the play, Smith might get credit for a half-sack on that play. . . He got full credit for a sack while lining up on the left side. He did not get much push against Cherilus, but he disengaged and dropped Stafford, who moved up into the pocket, for a 7-yard loss. . . He was credited with seven tackles, one sack (might be changed to 1.5 sacks), a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.

Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: He played just five snaps as the 49ers' fourth cornerback. . . On a third-and-22, he forced Kevin Smith inside on a short completion and made the stop for a 5-yard gain.
22-Carlos Rogers: He played every snap in the game with most of his action coming at the nickel back position. . . Covering tight end Tony Scheffler out of the slot, he knocked away a pass at the 5-yard line in first quarter. . . Called for defensive holding to give the Lions a first down in the second quarter. . . Covering Johnson in the slot, Rogers bit on an outside fake, leaving Johnson all alone in the middle of the field for a 26-yard gain in the fourth quarter. . . Broke up pass that was thrown behind Scheffler at the goal line. . . He was credited with two tackles and a pass defensed.
25-Tarell Brown: He started and played every snap, and played very well. . . Tight coverage on Johnson in third quarter for a 5-yard gain. . . Got through block from Burleson to touch down Jahnson for no gain on a completion that came on a third-and-5 play. . . Had coverage against Johnson, but was knocked down on a pick play by Pettigrew. Johnson gained 23 yards on the play. . . He recorded four tackles.
26-Tramaine Brock: He did not play on defense but he took part in 15 plays on special teams. He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
27-C.J. Spillman: He did not play any on defense, but he took part in 17 plays on special teams. He was not credited with any tackles.
29-Chris Culliver: The 49ers' third cornerback was on the field for 57 snaps as part of the team's nickel defense. . . Appeared to have good coverage on wide receiver Titus Young down the field but a tug on the jersey in the first quarter got him called for a 33-yard pass-interference penalty. . . Nice one-on-one tackle to stop receiver Nate Burleson on an end-around in first quarter. . . Got a hand on Bell but could not bring him down about 12 yards down field on a play that went for 50 yards. . . He was credited with two tackles and one pass defensed.
30-Trenton Robinson: He did not play any on defense, but he saw action on seven special-teams plays.
31-Donte Whitner: He started and played every snap on defense at strong safety. . . Came up strong to make a tackle of tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a 4-yard gain on a third-and-8 in the first quarter. . . He was credited with three tackles.
32-Darcel McBath: He saw no action on defense, but he was on the field for 23 special-teams plays.
38-Dashon Goldson: He started at free safety and played every snap. . . Made a diving interception of a wobbling Stafford pass late in the first quarter. He got to his feet and returned it 23 yards to set up a 49ers touchdown. . . Did a great job of flying up from deep in the secondary to drop Bell for a 2-yard gain early in second quarter. . . He was very decisive in coming up to support the run and finished his tackles. He was credited with six tackles, an interception and a pass defensed.Specialists
2-David Akers: He made field goals of 36 and 48 yards in the second half. His kickoffs were also good. The Lions starting field position after kickoffs was the 25-yard line.
4-Andy Lee: He played with a left thumb injury. He handled all the deep snaps, including holds on Akers kicks, without any problems. Lee punted just three times. He averaged 36.3 yards with a net 33.0. Two of his three punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping chores just fine.AP ImagesUS Presswire Images

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

Eric Reid embracing new role with 49ers: 'I was made for this position'

SANTA CLARA – Despite recording seven interceptions in his first two seasons and being named to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Eric Reid said he believes he is now in a role that best fits his skillset.

Whereas in the past, the 49ers’ safety positions were considered interchangeable, there is a clear delineation this season under first-year defensive coordinator Robert Saleh.

“Even dating back to college, this is the first time there’s a distinct strong (safety) and a distinct free (safety),” Reid said. “I’ve been used to the interchangeability type of role.

“(In) some situations, certain calls where there’s a motion, we might flip. There are a couple situations where I might be in the post in the free-safety role, but it’s not nearly as much as it has been in the past.”

Reid, who is listed at 6 foot 1, 213 pounds, said he is excited to be stationed closer to the line of scrimmage for run support while free safety Jimmie Ward patrols the deep middle of the field.

The 49ers offseason program concluded Wednesday, and Reid found himself in the middle of the action with an interception on a short Brian Hoyer pass over the middle. While he will still be counted upon for coverage, his biggest impact could come to assist a run defense that last season ranked among the worst in NFL history.

“I love it, being around the ball more,” Reid said. “I anticipate making more tackles, hopefully making more plays. I feel like I was made for this position with my body type, being a bigger safety. I’m excited about this year.

“I feel like I’m using what God has blessed me with, more, which is my size and being in the box in the run game. In the past, I felt like I could do more. And being in the post, I can’t use my size as much when it comes to the run game.”

After producing seven interceptions in his first two seasons, Reid recorded just one interception in 26 games over the past two seasons.

As a first-round pick in 2013, the 49ers picked up the fifth-year option this season for $5.676 million. He is scheduled for unrestricted free agency at the conclusion of the season. Reid said the 49ers have not spoken to his representation about a long-term extension. That will come, he believes, if he lives up to his end of the bargain in his new, streamlined role.

“I look at it from a business standpoint,” Reid said. “I majored in business. They have me under contract. They don’t have any reason to talk to right now. I imagine if I play well in the first half of the season, they’ll reach out to me. Maybe they’ll reach out to me before training camp, I don’t know. It’s whatever route they decide to take. It’s a business. I’ll treat it as a business. I have a job to do, so I’ll do it.”


Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

Mike Shanahan's official role with 49ers: Father of head coach

SANTA CLARA – Kyle Shanahan always wanted to coach football with his father. But, first, he knew he had to prove himself without any boost from his well-known dad.

Once the son established himself as one of the NFL’s respected offensive minds, the Shanahans teamed up for four up-but-mostly-down seasons with Washington.

Mike, the two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach, hired his son to serve as his top offensive assistant in 2010.

“I thought we saw football similar, but we quickly realized after a few weeks that we saw it differently,” Kyle Shanahan told NBC Sports Bay Area in February. “We grew together. He gave me a lot of leeway while I was there. It was fun to try a bunch of different things, having to even incorporate the zone read when we got Robert (Griffin).

“We did our deal in Washington, and I wouldn’t take that back for the world, but that was pretty much the end of it.”

Kyle Shanahan broke into the coaching ranks under Karl Dorrell at UCLA. He moved onto the NFL to work with Jon Gruden on the staff of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Gary Kubiak with the Houston Texans. But nothing prepared him for the scrutiny he would face as offensive coordinator under his father.

Kyle Shanahan adjusted the Washington offense to take advantage of Griffin’s skills as a dual-threat quarterback as a rookie 2012. The club qualified for the playoffs with a 10-6 record.

But things blew up the following season as the Mike Shanahan-Griffin relationship soured. Shanahan and eight assistant coaches, including Kyle, were fired the morning after Washington’s 3-13 season concluded.

Mike Shanahan has remained out of coaching, though he was a finalist for the 49ers’ head-coaching job after the 2015 season. The 49ers hired Chip Kelly.

Kyle Shanahan rebuilt his career with one season as offensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns and two successful seasons with the Atlanta Falcons to enable him to become CEO Jed York’s choice to replace Kelly.

There is no official role for Mike Shanahan, 64, on his son’s staff with the 49ers. But the father has attended several of the team’s practices this offseason, including both days of the 49ers’ mandatory minicamp this week. Mike has been issued his own iPad that gives him access to the 49ers playbook and coach's film. He will likely visit for an extended stay during training camp. But Kyle said he believes his dad will mostly remain home -- only a phone call away -- during the regular season.

“He’s enjoying life right now,” said Kyle, 37. “He’s got a pretty good deal in Denver, where he lives. He can help me out in other ways anyways without having to be here every day.”

Mike Shanahan does not need to be in the building every day to counsel and have influence on his son as he tries to navigate his first season as the head coach while also maintaining the responsibilities of running the team’s offense.

“You’re going 1,000 miles an hour,” Kyle Shanahan said. “Sometimes to see everything you’ve got to really slow things down and take your time to look at stuff and you don’t always have that time as a head coach.

“It’s nice when someone you know who thinks similar to you has a similar background and he just sits in a room all day and watches stuff. He doesn’t have any other responsibilities. He can see some things that I’m not always seeing and just to bring things to light that maybe I missed or other people have missed.”

Mike Shanahan was a successful NFL offensive coordinator for seven seasons. He won a Super Bowl on George Seifert’s staff with the 49ers in January 1995. His dad believes his time around the 49ers has a lasting impact.

“When I was with San Francisco, Kyle was at the 49ers training camps in Rocklin,” Mike Shanahan told Fangirl Sports Network. “He stayed with me at camp and we talked about football every night.

“He had the opportunity to experience an organization that had won four Super Bowls in nine years. He also had the opportunity to be around some great people and leaders. He still tells stories and talks about people like Steve Young, Joe Montana, Harris Barton, Tom Rathman, Jerry Rice, John Taylor, Deion Sanders, and many others. What a great experience to see how these men handled themselves on and off the field.”

The Denver Broncos hired him to become head coach shortly after the 49ers’ 49-26 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Super Bowl XXIX. Shanahan went on to win two Super Bowls in his 14 seasons with the Broncos.

Kyle Shanahan was a wide receiver at Duke before finishing college at Texas, where he caught 14 passes for 127 yards in two seasons. He figured he would have a career in football and it would not be as a player.

“I’ve wanted to coach my whole life,” Kyle Shanahan said. “This is all I’ve known, just growing up around football. It’s almost all I’ve been into, too. Since I was little, it’s distracted me from everything I’ve done, especially school. I always tried to tell my mom, ‘Just be patient, it’ll play out for us in the long run.’ Fortunately, it did.

“Once I realized my genes were a little bit better as a coach than as a player, I pretty much locked into that – and that was about halfway through college. I haven’t looked back.”

During his short time with the 49ers, players on both sides of the ball have expressed amazement at how knowledgeable Kyle Shanahan is about the game of football. His dad told Fangirl Sports Network to succeed as a head coach he must always be dedicated to stuyding, learning and teaching the sport.

“He loves the game and knows it inside and out,” Mike Shanahan said. “My advice to him is to never lose the drive to study the game as he’s done over the last 13 years. To stay in the NFL as a head coach and have success for any length of time, you must never lose your drive to teach and stay abreast of what the top teams are doing every year: offense, defense, special teams. You must be able to coach all positions to really understand the whole game.”

Former 49ers president Carmen Policy said he remembers young Kyle serving as a ball boy during 49ers training camp in the early 1990s. Policy, who remains close to Mike Shanahan, has followed Kyle’s rise in the coaching ranks while playfully questioning the sanity of the family business.

Said Policy: “I used to tease Mike, ‘What kind of father are you to let your kid go into coaching?’ I said, ‘You should be charged with dereliction of parental duty.’ And he’d laugh and say, ‘Yeah, I tried talking to him and then my wife tried talking to him, but that’s his passion, and that’s what he wants to do, so I’m not going to dissuade him from it.’

“And, then, look at what happened. Here he is. He’s the head coach of the 49ers, and that’s just incredible.”