Podcast: 49ers Offseason Begins →
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers vs. Cowboys defensive grades: DeMeco Ryans impresses once again in win

Rohan Chakravarthi
Jan 24, 2023 at 3:00 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defeated the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 in a defensive showdown, advancing to the NFC Championship Game where they'll face off against the Philadelphia Eagles, who earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC this season.

Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans was faced with his toughest challenge of the year aside from the Kansas City Chiefs and succeeded to great lengths, confusing the Cowboys' offense with various looks, which resulted in a two-interception day for Dak Prescott.

Here are the grades for the 49ers' defense against the Cowboys:

Defensive Line: B+

The stats didn't necessarily show it, but the defensive line disrupted Dak Prescott for a good portion of Sunday's game.

Prescott was pressured on 32.5% of his dropbacks, with the 49ers recording 18 total pressures as a team, despite not sending more than five rushers often.

Defensive end Nick Bosa had his second-straight zero-sack game, which is the first time he hasn't recorded a sack in two consecutive weeks since Weeks 16-17 of the 2021 season, including the playoffs.

However, Bosa led the team with five pressures, as well as a run stop, recording a pass-rush win rate of 25.7% on the day. Additionally, Bosa forced a holding penalty against rookie left tackle Tyler Smith, as well as a false start.

After the game, Bosa iterated his beliefs that he played a good game, even when lined up against Cowboys right tackle Tyron Smith.

Arik Armstead continues to be a game-changer on the defensive line.

While he didn't record a sack, which has become a norm in his eight-game playoff career, the defensive tackle had five pressures as well, while disrupting Dak Prescott on his first interception to Deommodore Lenoir.

Samson Ebukam had four pressures, albeit with a low win rate, while Charles Omenihu had two pressures and a 15.4% pass-rush win rate, but played minimal snaps in comparison to his counterparts.

With the quick game being a focus for the Cowboys offensively, the 49ers' defensive line didn't get as many opportunities for pressures, but still ended with 19 as a unit.

But, the 49ers need to improve on finishing and working against mobile quarterbacks. They allowed Dak Prescott to scramble four times for 22 yards and only got one sack on his 38 dropbacks.

Linebackers: B+

Fred Warner continues to showcase how phenomenal he is. Sunday's Divisional round game was a statement performance by the All-Pro linebacker, who recorded nine tackles, three run stops, and an interception that came off a deflection from Jimmie Ward.

However, Warner's most impressive play came in coverage on an incompletion to CeeDee Lamb, where the linebacker was step-in-step with the esteemed wideout, despite beginning the play mugged up to the line of scrimmage in a simulated pressure look before sprinting back to cover Lamb up the seam.

Dre Greenlaw, on the other hand, didn't have an inspiring performance. While he recorded six tackles and a run stop, he was out of place in coverage at times, leading to easy completions.

Additionally, the linebacker recorded an inexplicable 15-yard personal foul on a drive where Dallas ended up in the redzone, although he did record a big-time third-down tackle to force the Cowboys to go for it later in the drive.

While Ceedee Lamb had a productive day playing out of the slot with ten catches for 117 yards, the 49ers held Dalton Schultz to just five catches for 27 yards, collapsing over the middle when he touched the ball.

With another tough assignment next weekend against Philadelphia Eagles tight end Dallas Goedert, the 49ers will need to replicate their coverage over the middle from this past week.

Cornerbacks: A

Charvarius Ward bounced back from a tough performance against the Seattle Seahawks, allowing many underneath catches and giving up just 7.2 yards per target.

However, second-year cornerback Deommodore Lenoir continued an impressive postseason with another interception, this time off an acrobatic play early in the game that provided the 49ers with early points on the ensuing drive.

Lenoir did give up a big-time catch to Ceedee Lamb while also drawing a pass interference penalty as well, but was solid outside of that play, allowing just two catches on five targets with a pass defensed and the interception.

Slot cornerback Jimmie Ward played fairly well against the Cowboys, breaking up two passes, including a very impressive break on a play that resulted in Fred Warner's interception.

Ward gave up just 5.1 yards per target, which came primarily from underneath throws while the 49ers were in zone coverage, as the average depth of target was just 4.8 yards.

It was a solid day for the cornerbacks, who held up against a good Dallas corps of skill-position players, limiting Dak Prescott to just 206 yards and a 62.2% completion rate.

Safeties: B

Talanoa Hufanga had an impressive well-timed blitz that forced Dak Prescott to check a pass down well short of the line of scrimmage, showcasing his instinctual ability and intelligence.

However, the safety did have a couple of ill-timed missed tackles, failing to wrap up on a 3rd & short that allowed the Cowboys to convert inside 49ers' territory.

Apart from that, the 49ers allowed just one explosive play on the day and primarily forced Dak Prescott to resort to underneath throws, as the Cowboys quarterback completed just three passes beyond 10 yards.

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.
Nobody's perfect. Did you find a mistake in this article?
Report it.


  • No Comments


Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

Report: 49ers' DeMeco Ryans a "top candidate" for Texans head coach job; 2 sides to meet again next week

By David Bonilla
Jan 27

On Thursday, it was reported that San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans is a "top candidate" for the Denver Broncos' head coach job. The Broncos interviewed Ryans on January 19. According to NFL insiders Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero, Ryans is also a "top candidate" for the Houston Texans' head coach job. The Texans interviewed Ryans on January 20, and the two sides will meet again at some point next week, after this weekend's NFC Championship Game contest between the 49ers and the Philadelphia Eagles. "There is mutual interest and if all goes well, he could be their next head coach," Rapoport wrote via a

Texans hiring 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans as head coach

By David Bonilla
Jan 31

The Houston Texans are reportedly hiring San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans to be their next head coach, signing him to a six-year deal. The Texans first interviewed Ryans on January 20, ahead of the 49ers' Divisional Round playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys. They conducted a second interview on Tuesday morning in Houston. The #Texans and #49ers DC DeMeco Ryans have agreed to terms and he'll be their new head coach,

Emotional Fred Warner on 49ers' DeMeco Ryans: "He's the reason I'm the player I am today"

By David Bonilla
Jan 29

San Francisco 49ers players looked like they were saying farewell to DeMeco Ryans after the team's 31-7 defeat in the NFC Championship Game. The defensive coordinator is a top candidate for head-coaching jobs. After Sunday's game, NFL insider Ian Rapoport reported that Ryans is expected to become the Houston Texans' next coach, assuming this week's second interview goes well. The fact that Ryans may have coached the 49ers defense for the last time finally hit players in the locker room at Lincoln Financial Field after their season ended. "I hadn't thought about it up to this point because obviously you think you're going to win it all," linebacker Fred

49ers' DeMeco Ryans named PFWA Assistant Coach of the Year

By Site Staff
Jan 26

San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans has been named the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA) NFL Assistant Coach of the Year. "Ryans is in his second season as the 49ers defensive coordinator after three seasons as inside linebackers coach and one season as a defensive quality control coach," wrote the Professional Football Writers of America via a statement. "He helped lead San Francisco's defense to NFL bests in yards allowed per game (300.6), points allowed per game (16.3), turnover margin (+13) and giveaway points allowed (23). The 16.3 points allowed per game and 77.7 rushing yards allowed per game (second in the NFL) were the lowest for the 49ers since 2011. San Francisco also registered a league-high 20 interceptions. Defensive end Nick


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone