Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


49ers Run Defense Breaks Down

Nov 24, 2014 at 4:03 PM


A hot topic coming out of the 49ers 17-13 win over Washington yesterday has been the defense giving up 125 yards to Alfred Morris on 21 carries. Morris is the third running back to go over 100 yards on the 49ers this season, and with Marshawn Lynch visiting Levi's Stadium on Thursday there is cause for concern.

While Morris' numbers are impressive, it should be noted that 90 of those yards came on five carries. On his other 16 carries he managed to average only 2.18 yards per carry. This needs to be taken into account because it wasn't as if Morris was making runs that were allowing Washington to dictate the flow of the game.

Let's take a look at the five big runs that the 49ers defense allowed on Sunday.

First Quarter: 10:30, 1st and 10 Washington 21 - Ahmad Brooks gives up outside leverage when he jumps inside and then misses the tackle. Defensive tackle Quinton Dial appears to be in good position as he chases the play down the line, but he trips. Meanwhile, the Washington offensive line does a good job of getting to the second level.

First Quarter: 3:45, 1st and 10 Washington 7 - Tony Jerod-Eddie does a good job of chasing the play down the line of scrimmage and is in position to make the stop for a three to four yard gain, but he gets his head on the wrong side and Morris easily breaks the arm tackle. At the second level, Michael Wilhoite has over-pursued a bit which allows a lane for Morris to pick up additional yardage.

Second Quarter: 7:48, 1st and 10 San Francisco 12 - Chris Culliver is unblocked and has a free shot on Morris in the hole. He doesn't make the play and Morris goes for 11 yards.

Third Quarter: 13:47, 1st and 10 Washington 22 - Vic Fangio sends Michael Wilhoite on a blitz from the backside of the play so the 49ers lose a pursuit defender. Perrish Cox has a free shot on Morris in the hole but backs off and allows himself to be blocked.

Third Quarter: 4:49, 1st and 10 Washington 22 - Outside linebacker Aaron Lynch loses outside leverage, but Michael Wilhoite scrapes over the top and appears to be in position to stop the play for a short gain until he trips. Morris then dances along the sideline for an 11 yard gain.

Similar to the issues we've seen with the offense this season, the big plays given up by the defense call come down to execution. Each time they had a player in position to make a play, but they ultimately failed to do so. The good news for the 49ers is that these are all quick and easy fixes. With only three days to prepare for Seattle, they better make those changes in a hurry.
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.


7 Comments

  • Bilal
    Our offense needs to sustain drives..Period Giving up 100 plus yards and getting the win means more than holding a runner below 100 and taking the loss. Face it guys our offense sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Nov 26, 2014 at 5:02 AM
    0
    Response: The 49ers offense has the 4th highest time of possession per drive in the NFL.
  • Bilal
    Washington gained 90 yards on 1st down runs, sure enough, throughout the game because it was close enough to run. Pulling ahead by 2 or 3 scores would eliminate their need to continue running. Again, why are we focused on our run defense, it's the offense and you can't expect the defense to play at a high level when our offense is makinf a living going 3 and out.
    Nov 25, 2014 at 11:03 AM
    0
    Response: Because some people are talking about what caused the problems on Sunday, especially with Seattle coming in with their running game and the fact that Lynch has gained over 100 yards 4 times against the 49ers since 2011 and missed doing it twice in three games a season ago by two yards.
  • Bilal
    The Skins were able to run effectively because our offense was unable to pull away, which made the game close enough for the skins to continue running. We are putting too much attention on our run defense, where in the hell was our passing game? With the exception of the Denver game, all of our L's are due to poor QB play. Lets stop fooling ourselves, our defense is good enough to win, without all the starters!
    Nov 25, 2014 at 9:59 AM
    0
    Response: Washington gained 90 yards on 1st down runs.
  • vermonator
    Well, what did you expect when you lose the two top linebackers in the NFL? of course the fun defense is going to decline. With that said, now we are a much better pass rushing defense with Aldon back. Just have to take the good with the bad.
    Nov 25, 2014 at 7:33 AM
    0
  • Scooter_McG
    Thanks for breaking this down Jack, very interesting. On the second last run you outline, Borland also did a poor job letting himself get stuck in the trash, preventing him from getting across to fill.
    Nov 25, 2014 at 12:04 AM
    0
  • mooseman
    Good job Jack, As Justin Smith said a few years back. Stats are for losers.Anyway I never look at stats or where teams are ranked to gauge the outcome.They sure help,but any given Sunday different things can happen. We know that the niners play great D and their offense is mediocre.But the coaches know that and plan accordingly. As for the rushing on us from the Skins yesterday we played nickel all day.We dared them to pass and they could not. Always look at the points instead of yards allowed,and forget the the 100 yard games. Peace
    Nov 24, 2014 at 4:56 PM
    0
    Response: Thanks moose. BTW, the 49ers were in their base D on 4 of the 5 plays detailed above.
  • Leo
    Thank Jack, this is a great breakdown. I was a bit concerned with Lynch coming to town, but this is somewhat comforting. I'm interested to see Borland take on Lynch, even Bowman and Willis had trouble getting this guy down by themselves, should be a good match up. I'm feeling about 50/50 on this game, either way should be a good game, but it would be a heck of a lot better if we get the "W"
    Nov 24, 2014 at 4:21 PM
    0
    Response: Thanks Leo

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