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Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

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49ers defensive grades vs. Commanders: Are there any concerns with the defense?

Rohan Chakravarthi
Dec 28, 2022 at 5:00 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Washington Commanders 37-20 for their eight consecutive win, placing them at 11-4 on the season.

With the victory, the 49ers remain one game out of the NFC's second seed, while they still have a chance to obtain the first seed in the conference, which the Philadelphia Eagles currently possess.

The 49ers defense forced multiple turnovers en route to a victory, which has been the story for several games this season.

Here are the 49ers defensive grades against the Commanders.

Defensive Line: A

The defensive line just continues to be fantastic for the 49ers.

On Saturday, the team recorded 32 total pressures, with Nick Bosa and Arik Armstead leading the way, recording eight and seven pressures, respectively.

Charles Omenihu recorded yet another five-pressure game, adding to his quiet breakout season, recording nearly a 30% pass-rush win rate.

Bosa recorded the team's two sacks on the day, but the 49ers overcame significant depth issues and put together a strong performance that kept quarterback Taylor Heinecke under duress.

Jordan Willis was active on Saturday and his efforts were well-noticed, as the defensive end had three pressures, while stopping two run plays on the ground.

The Commanders rushed for just 79 yards on 2.4 yards per carry, despite coming into the game as one of the better rushing attacks as of late with rookie Brian Robinson.

Overall, it was a well-rounded, dominant performance from the front four for the 49ers, which was a main reason they blew out the Commanders last Saturday.

Linebackers: A

Fred Warner displayed pure dominance in the run game, recording eight run stops, as he filled in his gaps consistently.

Warner made a team-high 12 tackles, while fellow linebacker Dre Greenlaw had eight tackles, of which three were run stops.

Greenlaw left some plays to be desired in coverage, but the top linebacker duo continued their strong performances, which led to a shutdown of Washington's running game.

The effort on a weekly basis is unquestionable, which is exactly what San Francisco needs from their leader Fred Warner.

Cornerbacks: B

The cornerbacks were getting picked on in the first half, with the Commanders getting some solid gains on a 17-play, 84-yard drive.

But, it was a solid performance to begin, as the defense held the Commanders shut until a Purdy interception provided an eight-play, 31-yard touchdown drive at the end of the half.

Jimmie Ward notched his third interception of the season, which is a career high, making a nice play on an errant throw Taylor Heinecke due to pressure from Arik Armstead.

In the second half, the 49ers faced some issues when Charvarius Ward exited the game momentarily after experiencing some nausea symptoms.

As a result, the 49ers inserted rookie Samuel Womack and the Commanders immediately went at him.

Taylor Heinecke converted a 61-yard completion to Terry McLaurin in the direction of Womack, although it was due to a poor read from safety Tashaun Gipson, who should've had safety help.

Regardless, if Ward were to miss any time, the 49ers could have defensive back concerns, as seen a few times this season, both in communication and play.

When Ward is on the field, the 49ers have a shutdown corner, allowing them to match well and play man coverage.

But, that plan changes without Ward, which could leave vulnerabilities, especially against speedier receivers.

Safeties: B-

Tashaun Gipson recorded a nice pass deflection downfield, but had a coverage miscue when missing the help defense with Samuel Womack on Terry McLaurin that led to a 61-yard catch.

Talanoa Hufanga continues to be a valuable run defender, recording two run stops, but continues to have at least one miscue in the passing game.

The safeties have done a good job of minimizing explosive plays this season, but the Commanders surprisingly saw levels of success through the air with explosive plays.

The 49ers will look to continue their winning streak when they face the Las Vegas Raiders on New Years Day, who will not have leading tackler Denzel Perryman, edge rusher Chandler Jones, or quarterback Derek Carr, who was benched in favor of Jarrett Stidham.
The opinions within this article are those of the writer and, while just as important, are not necessarily those of the site as a whole.


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