49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Lions


49ers defensive player-by-player review vs. Lions

The 49ers' defense held Matthew Stafford to 133 yards passing in the game's first 57 minutes. This is a quarterback who had thrown for more than 350 yards in each of his past three games.The Detroit Lions finally punctured the 49ers' defense in the closing minutes, with a poorly defended screen play going for 50 yards. The Lions ended up getting into the end zone with 1:29 remaining in the 49ers' 27-19 victory at Candlestick Park on Sunday night.Stafford threw for 97 yards on the final drive and finished with a stat line of 19 of 32 for 230 yards with one touchdown, one interception and a passer rating of 78.9.REWIND: Maiocco's Instant Replay: 49ers 27, Lions 19
All in all, it was another strong showing from the 49ers' defense, particularly Justin Smith, Aldon Smith, Tarell Brown and Dashon Goldson. The 49ers at times rushed three men, and the coverage on the secondary often made it difficult for Stafford to find anyone open.
Here's the defensive player-by-player breakdown:Defensive line
83-Demarcus Dobbs: He played no snaps on defense, but was involved in 25 plays on special teams.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: The 49ers played their nickel defense for most of the game, so that meant that Sopoaga played only eight snaps at nose tackle. . . . On his first play, he beat a double team to upend running back Kevin Smith for 1-yard gain. He finished with two tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: He played all but one snap on the defensive line. . . Right guard Stephen Peterman got a good block on him to open hole for 7-yard gain in second quarter. . . Working against Peterman, he tripped up quarterback Matthew Stofford for a 9-yard sack in the fourth quarter. He was awarded full credit for the sack. Aldon Smith might end up sharing the sack. McDonald finished with two tackles, a sack, a tackle for a loss and a quarterback hit.
92-Will Tukuafu: He did not play any snaps on defense, but he was in on 19 plays on special teams and eight more on offense. . . He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
93-Ian Williams: Was not active (coaches' decision).
94-Justin Smith: He played all 65 defensive snaps. . . Stood up left guard Rob Sims and made tackle of running back Joique Bell for a 2-yard gain despite his helmet flying off. . . Showed quickness to knife past Backus to drop Kevin Smith for no gain in the third quarter. . . He clogged things up on the inside and was a big reason the 49ers allowed just 3.2 yards per rushing attempt despite playing most of the game with only two true defensive linemen. . . He was credited with five tackles.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He played one snap on defense, coming in to replace McDonald, to go along with six plays on special teams.Linebackers
51-Clark Haggans: He suited up for the game but did not play.
52-Patrick Willis: He played every snap at middle linebacker. . . Dropped Calvin Johnson with a high, legal hit for a 4-yard gain in the second quarter. . . Got blocked out of the way by Peterman on play that resulted in Bell's 50-yard gain on a screen play in the fourth quarter. . . Broke up pass for Pettigrew in fourth quarter. . . In coverage against Pettigrew on 9-yard touchdown in the final two minutes. . . He was credited with a team-high nine tackles and one pass defensed.
53-NaVorro Bowman: He played every snap at the "jack" likebacker position. . . Missed a tackle on Johnson, who picked up 7 yards after the catch to convert a third down in the first quarter. . . Sims had a block on him that enabled Bell to pick up 50 yards on a fourth-quarter screen. . . Finished with eight tackles and one pass defensed.
54-Larry Grant: He did not play any on defense, but was on the field for 17 plays on special teams.
55-Ahmad Brooks: He took part in all but five plays on defense when the 49ers went to their "dollar" package. . . Jumped at the line of scrimmage to bat down a Stafford third-down pass in the first quarter with his left hand. . . Dropped into coverage against Johnson and turned to find the ball just as it was arriving in Johnson's grasp for a 24-yard gain down the seam in the second quarter. . . Blew past right tackle Gosder Cherilus to put hit on Stafford to force third-down incomplete pass. . . He was credited with no tackles, one quarterback hit, and one pass defensed.
56-Tavares Gooden: He did not play any on defense, but took part in 17 plays on special teams.
99-Aldon Smith: He played every snap on defense with all but eight of them coming at defensive end in the 49ers' nickel package. In the eight plays the 49ers were in their base defense, Smith played outside linebacker. . . After being asked almost exclusively to rush the passer as a rookie, Smith proved to be very good setting the edge against the run in this game. . . On first play of the game, he easily disengaged with left tackle Jeff Backus to stop Kevin Smith for a 1-yard gain. . . On the next series, Backus was called for a holding penalty against on a run play. . . Dropped into coverage and allowed Bell to get around him at the sideline for a 9-yard gain in second quarter. . . Tossed Backus aside to drop Bell for no gain in third quarter. . . Smith got to Stafford as he was already going down after McDonald tripped him up. After the Elias Sports Bureau, the official NFL statisticians review the play, Smith might get credit for a half-sack on that play. . . He got full credit for a sack while lining up on the left side. He did not get much push against Cherilus, but he disengaged and dropped Stafford, who moved up into the pocket, for a 7-yard loss. . . He was credited with seven tackles, one sack (might be changed to 1.5 sacks), a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.

Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: He played just five snaps as the 49ers' fourth cornerback. . . On a third-and-22, he forced Kevin Smith inside on a short completion and made the stop for a 5-yard gain.
22-Carlos Rogers: He played every snap in the game with most of his action coming at the nickel back position. . . Covering tight end Tony Scheffler out of the slot, he knocked away a pass at the 5-yard line in first quarter. . . Called for defensive holding to give the Lions a first down in the second quarter. . . Covering Johnson in the slot, Rogers bit on an outside fake, leaving Johnson all alone in the middle of the field for a 26-yard gain in the fourth quarter. . . Broke up pass that was thrown behind Scheffler at the goal line. . . He was credited with two tackles and a pass defensed.
25-Tarell Brown: He started and played every snap, and played very well. . . Tight coverage on Johnson in third quarter for a 5-yard gain. . . Got through block from Burleson to touch down Jahnson for no gain on a completion that came on a third-and-5 play. . . Had coverage against Johnson, but was knocked down on a pick play by Pettigrew. Johnson gained 23 yards on the play. . . He recorded four tackles.
26-Tramaine Brock: He did not play on defense but he took part in 15 plays on special teams. He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
27-C.J. Spillman: He did not play any on defense, but he took part in 17 plays on special teams. He was not credited with any tackles.
29-Chris Culliver: The 49ers' third cornerback was on the field for 57 snaps as part of the team's nickel defense. . . Appeared to have good coverage on wide receiver Titus Young down the field but a tug on the jersey in the first quarter got him called for a 33-yard pass-interference penalty. . . Nice one-on-one tackle to stop receiver Nate Burleson on an end-around in first quarter. . . Got a hand on Bell but could not bring him down about 12 yards down field on a play that went for 50 yards. . . He was credited with two tackles and one pass defensed.
30-Trenton Robinson: He did not play any on defense, but he saw action on seven special-teams plays.
31-Donte Whitner: He started and played every snap on defense at strong safety. . . Came up strong to make a tackle of tight end Brandon Pettigrew for a 4-yard gain on a third-and-8 in the first quarter. . . He was credited with three tackles.
32-Darcel McBath: He saw no action on defense, but he was on the field for 23 special-teams plays.
38-Dashon Goldson: He started at free safety and played every snap. . . Made a diving interception of a wobbling Stafford pass late in the first quarter. He got to his feet and returned it 23 yards to set up a 49ers touchdown. . . Did a great job of flying up from deep in the secondary to drop Bell for a 2-yard gain early in second quarter. . . He was very decisive in coming up to support the run and finished his tackles. He was credited with six tackles, an interception and a pass defensed.Specialists
2-David Akers: He made field goals of 36 and 48 yards in the second half. His kickoffs were also good. The Lions starting field position after kickoffs was the 25-yard line.
4-Andy Lee: He played with a left thumb injury. He handled all the deep snaps, including holds on Akers kicks, without any problems. Lee punted just three times. He averaged 36.3 yards with a net 33.0. Two of his three punts were downed inside the 20-yard line.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled the long-snapping chores just fine.AP ImagesUS Presswire Images

LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’


LeBron James: Colin Kaepernick ‘had a vision like Martin Luther King’

LeBron James is an avid football fan. He's now an even bigger Colin Kaepernick fan than the sport. Following the Cavaliers' practice on Sunday, James opened up on Kaepernick and his absence from the NFL. 

"I've commended Kap, and for him to sacrifice everything for the greater good for everyone, for what he truly believed in, the utmost respect to him," James said to ESPN. "Obviously he had a vision like Martin Luther King and like some of our all-time greats that people couldn't see further than what they were doing at the point and time. And Muhammad Ali and things of that nature."

James believes the masses don't truly understand what Kaepernick was doing when he first took a knee as a protest against social and racial injustices in America. For his actions, James respects Kaepernick choosing his beliefs over his sport.

"When it's something that's new and it's something that people are not educated about or don't understand what your beliefs are all about, people are so quick to judge and people are so quick to say that what you're doing is wrong," James said. "For him to sacrifice the sport that he plays and to sacrifice the things he's done his whole life because he knew what he believed in, I salute him. I salute and respect that."

Add James to the list of those who believe Kaepernick is being blackballed by the NFL for taking a knee last season. The more games he watches, the more James sees the evidence on the wall. 

"I don't represent the NFL. I don't know their rules and regulations. But I do know Kap is getting a wrong doing, I do know that," James believes. "Just watching, he's an NFL player. He's an NFL player and you see all these other quarterbacks out there and players out there that get all these second and third chances that are nowhere near as talented as him. It just feels like he's been blackballed out of the NFL. So, I definitely do not respect that."

Kaepernick, who recently turned 30 years old, appeared in 12 games for the 49ers in the 2016-17 season. Through the air he completed 59.2 percent of his passes and ended the year with 2,241 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. Kaepernick also added 468 yards and two more scores on the ground. 

"The only reason I could say he's not on a team is because the way he took a knee," James said. "That's the only reason. I watch football every Sunday, every Thursday, every Monday night. I see all these quarterbacks -- first-string, second-team, third-team quarterbacks -- that play sometimes when the starter gets hurt or are starters that play. Kap is better than a lot of those guys. Let's just be honest."

For his career, Kaepernick has thrown for 12,271 yards and 72 touchdowns to 30 interceptions. With his speed as a dual-threat quarterback, Kaepernick has also gained 2,300 yards rushing and 13 more touchdowns. 

Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals


Former 49ers quarterback takes over under center for Cardinals

TEMPE, Ariz. — Blaine Gabbert will get his first start for the Arizona Cardinals when they play the Texans in Houston on Sunday.

Coach Bruce Arians announced the decision after Friday's practice.

Drew Stanton, the starter the last two games, bruised his knee early in the Thursday night loss to Seattle last week. He stayed in the game but has been limited in practice all week.

Arians said it will be a game-time decision as to whether Stanton or recently signed Matt Barkley would be Gabbert's backup.

Gabbert will be making his 41st NFL start. He has a 9-31 record. He signed with Arizona last offseason and was the third quarterback until Carson Palmer broke his arm against the Los Angeles Rams in London and was lost for the season.