49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show


49ers defensive review: The Aldon Smith Show

If it weren't for Colin Kaepernick, all anyone would be talking about a day after the 49ers' 32-7 victory over the Chicago Bears would be the performance of 49ers outside linebacker Aldon Smith.Smith was credited with 5.5 sacks, seven quarterback hits, seven tackles and two forced fumbles in his 48 snaps from scrimmage.He lined up at both end positions, and treated Chicago Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb and right tackle Gabe Carimi with equal amounts of rudeness. In Pro Football Focus' rating system, Smith ended up with an extraordinary 9.8 grade.Smith was certainly not alone, as far as defensive standouts, but he stood above the rest and should now be considered on any short list of candidates for NFL Defensive Player of the Year with six games remaining.MAIOCCO: Aldon Smith leads strong defensive showing
--Usually, Aldon Smith and Justin Smith work together on the same side in pass-rush situations. Aldon lines up at end and Justin is on the inside, where he generally does a remarkable job of creating openings through which Aldon Smith can get a free run at the quarterback.On Monday, the two Smiths helped each other by playing on opposite sides. This made the Bears decide where to give help. On back-to-back sacks, Aldon Smith lined up at left end, while Justin Smith was at right end. They pretty much had a foot race to greet Bears quarterback Jason Campbell on two sacks.On the second sack, it would've been a shared sack, but Aldon Smith forced the fumble that ultimately resulted in a safety. Therefore, Aldon Smith got full credit for the sack.--Aldon Smith used power moves for 4.5 of his sacks, and he made Carimi whiff on an inside move for his other sack.
--Justin Smith had a 6.3 grade for the game, according to PFF. He was credited with only a half-sack, but he was just a step away from getting a couple others, as Aldon Smith beat him to the quarterback.Justin Smith and Ahmad Brooks, the left outside linebacker, were very effective in pursuit and making tackles from the backside.--Nose tackle Isaac Sopoaga rebounded with a good game. He did a much better job at the point of attack. On the Bears' second drive, he fended off a double-team by center Robert Garza and left guard Chilo Rachal to drop Matt Forte for no gain.--Because Sopoaga did not allow the Bears' interior linemen to get to the second level, inside linebackers NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis had big performances. Willis was particularly impressive in pass coverage. He broke up two passes, but he also stopped completions for short gains.--Cornerbacks Tarell Brown and Carlos Rogers played well. According to PFF, Brown was targeted nine times and gave up just five catches for 37 yards. Brown made an exceptional play to diagnose a Devin Hester route and break on the ball for a second-quarter interception. Rogers was targeted twice and did not allow a completion.--Safety Dashon Goldson teamed up for good coverage on Brandon Marshall, who was held to just two catches for 21 yards. Goldson made a nice interception of an overthrown Campbell pass and managed to get both feet inbounds at the sideline.--Marshall made only one play in the game, as he went over Chris Culliver's tight coverage to catch a 13-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter.--The Bears' one touchdown came on a series that probably should have come to an end several plays earlier. Brooks broke through to sack Campbell and force a fumble. As Aldon Smith and Carimi were in pursuit of the fumble, Smith shoved Carimi from behind, just as Carimi was batting the ball out of bounds. Referee Tony Corrente ruled that Smith was making no attempt to go after the loose ball and, therefore, his shove in the back was illegal. The 1-yard penalty nullified Brooks' sack and it gave the Bears an automatic first down.--Punter Andy Lee and the coverage units had a strong game against Hester, who managed negative-1 yard on three returns. Lee's net average was a remarkable 47.3, thanks some good coverage by starters Goldson and Bowman, as well as C.J. Spillman, Tramaine Brock and Anthony Dixon.--Kicker David Akers got back in his comfort zone with field goals of 32, 37 and 32 yards.

49ers' Kaepernick shoulders blame: 'I have to be better'

49ers' Kaepernick shoulders blame: 'I have to be better'

SANTA CLARA – Quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s second start of the season played out in similar fashion to his first appearance of the season a week ago in Buffalo.

Again, Kaepernick had more success running, and the 49ers’ last-ranked pass offense came in under its season average.

“I have to be better,” Kaepernick said following the 49ers’ 34-17 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before a sparse and largely disinterested gathering at Levi's Stadium.

Kaepernick completed fewer than 50 percent of his attempts for a second week in a row. He hit on 16 of 34 attempts for 143 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

“That’s not going to win in the NFL,” Kaepernick said. “We have to be able to do better on that and ultimately, we have to string this together as a team and play well as a team for 60 minutes to get wins.”

[MAIOCCO: Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss]

Kaepernick made his second start after replacing Blaine Gabbert, who started the 49ers’ first five games of the season. The club has now lost six consecutive games, the franchise’s longest losing streak since 2008.

Kaepernick rushed for a team-high 84 yards on nine attempts, but the 49ers’ offense sputtered after a strong start. The 49ers scored touchdowns on two of their first four possessions, before closing shop for the day.

“I think it was up and down,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly said of Kaepernick’s performance. “I wish there was one thing that you could just put your finger on and say, ‘Hey, it’s this.’ He obviously kept some things alive and kept some drives alive with his legs.

“They were playing a little bit more man coverage than we thought. Coming into the game they hadn’t played that much man, but they started off playing a lot of man. So, obviously, he can beat them (scrambling) when they are playing man coverage and everybody is locked up and now there is nobody responsible for the quarterback.”

The 49ers opened the game with a five-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. Later in the first quarter, the 49ers cashed in quickly after Gerald Hodges’ interception. Kaepernick found running back Shaun Draughn in the front left corner of the end zone for a 17-yard touchdown pass.

“It comes down to execution, not shooting ourselves in the foot and making plays,” Kaepernick said. “On our two touchdown drives, we had players making plays on the field and we have to be able to continually do that throughout the game because defenses are talented. Things are going to be close and we have to be able to make those plays and that’s ultimately what’s going to be the difference in these games.”

Now, the 49ers head into the bye week with a 1-6 record. The 49ers face the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 6.

“It’s not a position we want to be in,” Kaepernick said. “We work hard every week, we go through our preparation, we’re on top of everything but we have to go out and execute better. Where our record is right now, we have a bye week coming up. We can get some corrections, get some people healthy, come back and try to make a home stretch run.”

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

Kelly: No changes to 49ers defensive staff after loss

SANTA CLARA – The search for answers will continue during the 49ers’ bye week. But coach Chip Kelly said he has already concluded he will make no changes to the defensive staff.

The 49ers surrendered 513 yards of total offense to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Levi’s Stadiium. The Buccaneers, who entered the game with the league's 27th-ranked run game, rushed for 249 yards in their 34-17 victory over the 49ers.

Defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil has come under fire, but Kelly told reporters he is not looking to make any changes to his staff. Kelly said he already spends ample time with O’Neil on a weekly basis.

"We spend time together during the week," Kelly said. "We carve out time in terms of how we watch film and what we do and understand the plan as we’re moving forward. There’s good communication going on form that standpoint. It’s not like I don’t know what’s going on on the defensive side of the ball.”

Defensive players in the 49ers’ locker room expressed confidence in O’Neil’s scheme.

“I love this scheme,” safety Eric Reid said. “If everybody does their job, we shouldn’t get beat. But whenever there’s an explosive play, somebody is out of position. We just got to tighten up.”

Said defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, “We have a great scheme and we have the guys to fit the scheme that he’s trying to run for us. Everybody individually, including myself, just needs to do better.”

Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch, who left the game in the third quarter with a high-ankle sprain, expressed a view of the team’s defensive players that was more than a bit optimistic.

“We have the team,” Lynch said. “We possibly have one of the best teams in the NFL, easily. Hands down. We need to know how to keep finishing games and work together throughout the whole game. Once we get that down, nobody’s going to be able to mess with us.”

The 49ers rank last in the NFL in rushing defense. The 49ers gave up 561 yards rushing in the past two games, the worst back-to-back weeks in franchise history.

Buccaneers running back Jacquizz Rodgers was the latest player to feast on the 49ers' defense. Rodgers rushed for a career-high 154 yards on 26 carries to become the sixth consecutive opponent to gain more than 100 yards on the 49ers.

“Of course, I am frustrated with it,” 49ers outside linebacker Ahmad Brooks said. “You play this game to win. When we give up points the way that we do, the way we give up yards, it is just unacceptable. It is frustrating.

“Anything is fixable. I just think that the guys that get double-teamed maybe have to do a better job at taking on the double-team. I know that is difficult, but that is what we signed up for. The guys that are getting doubled have to be able to get off those double-teams and just try to do a better job.”