As always, Niners Live sees it as our obligation to keep the Faithful and the masses updated, informed, and entertained with fresh, insightful, and objective reporting and writing. To ensure consistency, we again brought you the pregame match ups and the week 2 post-game summary. To continue that trend, we now present the post-game assessment of the “Front 7”.
Who showed up (individual player assessments by technique/position)
Middle linebacker (MIKE)
NaVorro Bowman topped team tackles by racking up 10 total tackles (seven solo) and one tackle for loss, as he was all over the field making tackles and showing the staff and fan base he’s not done yet and is still a monster on this 49ers’ defense (via ESPN).
Weak side linebacker (WILL)
Ray-Ray Armstrong picked up where he left off in week one as he continues to make solid contributions in the absence of Reuben Foster collecting eight tackles (four solo) on the day. He, too, was all over the field making plays. Good work Ray-Ray.
Left defensive end (LEO/5 tech)
Aaron Lynch, in his first game of the 2017 season, made the best of his debut. Lynch recorded one tackle (tackle for loss), his first sack of the season, as well as the first sack for this 49ers’ defense, and added two quarterback hits.
Arik Armstead accounted for four tackles (one solo), a tackle for loss, and he, too, recorded his first sack of the season as he continues to find comfort in his role rushing off the edge.
Right defensive end (BIG END 5/6 tech)
Tank Carradine had his most active and productive game yet, consistently making his presence felt, with three tackles (two solo), a tackle for loss, a sack, and two quarterback hits.
Solomon Thomas continues to grow and settle into his role as he bounced back from a relatively quiet performance in week one. Thomas accumulated four solo tackles, a tackle for loss, and a quarterback hit.
Right defensive tackle (3 tech)
DeForest Buckner made a statement showing his dominance up-front as he recorded four tackles (two solo) and three quarterback hits on the day.
Have you seen me? (yet to make an impact)
Elvis Dumervil, for the second straight game, has gotten very close to recording sack number 100 as he collected another quarterback hit, but that’s as close as he’ll get for now, as he’s still chasing the century mark in sacks. Dumervil didn’t make this list in the traditional sense, as he’s been active and very close to recording a sack when he enters the game. Consider this a little extra motivation for Elvis to officially enter the building. Let’s go Mr. Dumervil, (A) we know you almost got a sack, but you know as we so do, “almost doesn’t count.” You’re looking to reach 100 and then some and we’re pulling for you
The big picture (group assessment)
Even in a loss, this 49ers defense took yet another step forward. The defense was dominant and swarming as they kept Russell Wilson in track shoes, making him spend most of the afternoon avoiding defenders. So much for putting the defense on skates as shown in that offseason commercial. On the contrary, Wilson needed skates to avoid the 49ers’ defense as they were harassing him all day. Unfortunately, the offense was unable to score touchdowns, sustain drives, or convert first downs, and in turn, the defense began to experience fatigue due to spending so much time on the field. As expected with the roster turnover, the 49ers have endured. The team isn’t quite clicking on all cylinders by any means, but the defense is surely the bright spot.
The defense recorded a season-high 10 quarterback hits and three sacks. This defense is by far ahead of the offense and will need to continue its stellar play to give the offense a chance to score points. Overall, this unit looked good and will only get better. This was, without question, the best game the 49ers have played on the road in Seattle. In past meetings, for the most part, the Seattle Seahawks dominated the 49ers on both sides of the ball. Not today. Today, this team fought and battled giving the Seahawks all they could handle. Aside from a win, the defense was impressive, but was unable to force any turnovers, which is why they weren’t awarded a solid A.
Overall grade: A-
Areas of improvement (group assessment)
The pass rush – Though the defense recorded three sacks, each sack came from players rushing off the edge. The good news is, the edge defenders are doing their job setting the edge and forcing the quarterback to step up in the pocket and to the middle of the defense. The not so good news is the interior defenders (defensive tackles) have yet to truly make an impact on the pass rush. If the 49ers can combine the pressure off the edge with some pressure from their interior defenders, the sacks, quarterback hits and hurries will increase and, hopefully, so will the forced turnovers.
Forcing turnovers– As stated earlier, this defense is much improved from the 2016 defense. Today they clogged rushing lanes and even had three players’ record sacks, but failed to force any turnovers as a result.
What to look for next week at home against the division rival Los Angeles Rams (The Wrap-up)
Though the 49ers fell short, losing a close one to the Seattle Seahawks, it wasn’t due to lack of effort or performance on defense. And with a young and talented Los Angeles Rams team that has shown they can score points on offense coming into Levi on a short week, they’ll be called upon again to have another solid showing and save the day. Luckily, Jared Goff isn’t as mobile as the last two quarterbacks. Let’s go, defense!
All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Kevin Mitchell Staff Writer at Niners Live and Co-Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims.