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


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

There is a lot of credit to go around on the defensive side the ball from the 49ers' 30-22 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Lambeau Field.The pass rush got pressure on Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers with three sacks and other pressure that either forced Rodgers to scramble five times or throw the ball away. The front was stout against the run. And the secondary generally did a good job keeping the ball in front of them and securing tackles.Here's the defensive player-by-player breakdown:Defensive line
83-Demarcus Dobbs: He played only two snaps on defense but was a core special-teams players with 20 plays on those units. . . He had no tackles.
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Because the 49ers spent most of this game with extra defensive backs on the field, Sopoaga played just seven snaps. . . He was not credited with any tackles.
91-Ray McDonald: He played all 72 defensive plays (including plays wiped out due to penalties). He was very active against right guard Josh Sitton and did a great job of helping take away the Packers' run game despite the 49ers playing with a DB-dominated alignment. . . Hustled after Aaron Rodgers on third-and-8 play late in first half to force his incomplete flip out of bounds and stop the clock. That played enabled the 49ers the time to tack on a field goal at the end of the half. . . . He was credited with four tackles.
92-Will Tukuafu: He did not play on defense, but had 14 plays on special teams. He was not credited with any tackles.
93-Ian Williams: Was not active (coaches' decision).
94-Justin Smith: He played 70 snaps on defense. . . Took on two blockers for most of the game. He pushed back center Jeff Saturday, then shed tight end Tom Crabtree, to stop Benson for 2-yard gain on first play of third quarter. . . Collapsed pocket on bullrush against left guard T.J. Lang to force Rodgers to scramble for 5-yard gain in third quarter. . . He was credited with just one tackle, but he did his job.
95-Ricky Jean Francois: He played just one snap on defense, as the 49ers went to their goal-line defense. He also saw action on four special-teams plays.MAIOCCO: 49ers slow down high-powered Packers offense
51-Clark Haggans: He suited up for the game but did not play.
52-Patrick Willis: He started but was on the sideline for 24 snaps on certain packages in which the 49ers had six defensive backs on the field. . . Did not stop Jordy Nelson in his tracks, allowing him to move forward a couple yards to convert a second-and-9 in third quarter. . . He was credited with six tackles.MAILBAG: Where was Patrick Willis?

53-NaVorro Bowman: He started and played 59 snaps, and had an outstanding game. . . He was involved in the tackles of Cedric Benson's first four run attempts (for 9 yards), and really set the tone for discouraging the Packers from running the ball. . . Was in coverage against tight end Jermichael Finley on a 16-yard pass on a third-and-12 in the second quarter. . . Might have gotten away with illegal contact on Finley on a third-quarter play, but had good coverage at beginning of fourth quarter to swat away second-and-6 pass. . . Baited Rodgers into an interception when he took three steps up and the quickly back-pedaled to get in the path of the pass for a huge fourth-quarter interception. His 11-yard return set up Frank Gore's touchdown run on the next play. Made the hustle play 49 yards down field to prevent a touchdown against James Jones. . . He was credited with a team-high 11 tackles with one interception and two passes defensed.
54-Larry Grant: He did not play any defense but saw action on 16 plays on special teams. Cobb got outside of him on 61-yard punt return on borderline illegal block in the back. . . He was credited with one special-teams tackle.
55-Ahmad Brooks: He started at left outside linebacker and played 56 snaps. . . Good job to set the edge on a second-down run that netted Benson just 1 yard. . . Looped around and hit Rodgers on incomplete pass and avoided roughing-the-passer penalty in third quarter. . . Dropped Rodgers for just 1 yard on scramble on Packers final drive. . . Called for neutral zone infraction on final drive. . . Blew past Bulaga with an inside move to force Rodgers incomplete pass on Packers' final set of downs. . . On the next play, he took an inside route past Lang and got through center Jeff Saturday for a huge 7-yard sack with less than two minutes to play. . . He was credited with two tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and three quarterback hits.
56-Tavares Gooden: He did not see any action on defense, but he was involved in 20 special-teams plays.
99-Aldon Smith: He played 70 snaps on defense, mostly at defensive end as the 49ers rarely played their 3-4 defense against the Packers' passing game. . . On second play of the game, he made outstanding play to dart inside and stop Benson for a 1-yard gain. . . On next play, he stayed at home on a misdirection rollout and dropped Rodgers for a 10-yard sack. But when he flipped his helmet off, he was called for unsportsmanlike conduct, a 15-yard penalty. . . Called for offsides to give Packers a free shot at the end zone (it was incomplete) in second quarter. . . On a three-man rush, hustled to dump Rodgers, forcing a throwaway, on play late in first half. . . Bulaga was called for holding against him on a fourth-quarter pass play. . . He was credited with three tackles, one sack and one quarterback hit.Defensive backs
20-Perrish Cox: As the fourth cornerback, Cox saw 55 snaps on defense. . . Was in coverage and slipped after completion on 12-yard gain to Randall Cobb in second quarter. . . On next play, had good coverage against Finley in end zone incompletion. The officials announced a 49ers pass interference penalty but never identified Cox. . . Came on a blitz off the slot to put a hit on Rodgers as he was throwing incomplete on the Packers' fourth-down play with inside a minute remaining in the game. . . He was credited with two tackles.
22-Carlos Rogers: He started and played 71 snaps on defense. . . He had coverage on incomplete pass for Greg Jennings on second down, and then dropped Rodgers with blitz off the slot for his first career sack to end Packers' first drive. . . Ducked around block attempt from Bulaga to drop Benson for 1-yard gain in third quarter. . . . Had tight coverage on Greg Jennings on third-and-6 play in fourth quarter and managed to break up the pass with his back to the quarterback. . . Called for pass-interference on a 4-yard pass to Jennings in the fourth quarter. . . He was credited with four tackles, one sack, one tackle for loss and one quarterback hit.
25-Tarell Brown: He started and played 71 snaps on defense. . . The Packers did not take as many shots down the field as they normally would, and Brown turned away one potential big play when he slapped away 45-yard pass inside the 10-yard line on a Rodgers throw intended for Jones in the first quarter. . . . Then, on the next play, he peeled off his man to stop Jennings for a 5-yard gain on a third-and-8 play to force a punt. . . Gave up 28-yard pass to Jordy Nelson when Nelson came back for the ball on a Rodgers scramble. . . Carried Jones from the far left side of the field all the way across on a Rodgers scramble. Rodgers hit Jones, who broke a tackle, and gained 49 yards on the fourth-quarter play. . . He was credited with six tackles and one pass defensed.
26-Tramaine Brock: He did not play on defense, but he was on the field for 19 plays on special teams. . . As the gunner running down the left side, he got down the field but Cobb broke to the outside to avoid him at beginning of 61-yard kickoff return . . . Made a big tackle off the left side as a gunner to drop Cobb for a 1-yard punt return at start of final Packers drive.
27-C.J. Spillman: He played one snap on defense as part of the 49ers' goal-line defense. He also was a core special-teams player with 20 plays. . . He was called for a bizarre penalty on the opening punt. It appeared a Packers player committed an illegal block on him, but the officials got confused and flagged Spillman for the penalty.
29-Chris Culliver: The 49ers' third cornerback was on the field for 65 plays. . . Did not make tackle on short pass to Jones in the third quarter, but at least forced him inside, where there was help to stop him after 13-yard gain. . . On the Packers' final play, he was singled up on the outside against Nelson, had good position and turned to find the ball and knock it away on fourth down to preserve the victory. He was credited with four tackles and one pass defensed.
30-Trenton Robinson: He did not play any on defense, but he saw action on 15 special-teams plays.
31-Donte Whitner: He started at strong safety and was on the field for all 72 snaps. . . He was in coverage, along with Cox, on a second-quarter attempt to Finley in the end zone. Although the officials announced Dashon Goldson as the guilty party, it certainly wasn't him. Whitner more than likely is the 49ers player the officials targeted, but his coverage looked good, too. . . On the next play, Whitner was in coverage against Finley, and allowed an inside release and a quick 1-yard TD catch. . . Delivered huge hit from behind on Nelson, who held onto the short pass for a two-point conversion. . . Stepped in front of Jennings but could not hold onto potential interception on first play of Packers' final series of the game. . . He was credited with four tackles and one pass defensed.
32-Darcel McBath: He saw no action on defense, but he was on the field for 24 special-teams plays.
38-Dashon Goldson: He started at free safety and was on the field for every play. . . He was announced for a pass-interference penalty in the end zone in the second quarter, but the officials got the wrong guy. He was away from the ball and never made contact with any Packers receiver. . . Did a good job of locking down the deep middle when 49ers came with a blitz, Rodgers went play-action, and tried to hit Nelson deep on a third-down play early in third quarter. . . Delivered a big hit on Jennings at end of a third-and-6 play in the fourth quarter that was going to be incomplete anyway. . . Goldson appeared to miss an assignment when he left his responsibility in the end zone to cover a Cobb underneath route on a 10-yard touchdown pass to Jones with 6:09 left in the fourth quarter. . . On third-and-17, made a secure tackle of Cobb for just 7 yards to set up the Packers' final play of the game. He was credited with four tackles.Specialists
2-David Akers: He had a remarkable first half with three field goals, including two kicks of 43 and 63 yards in the final 55 seconds. His 63-yarder as time expired in the first half tied Akers, a 14-year veteran, with Tom Dempsey (1970), Jason Elam (1998) and Sebastian Janikowski (2011) for longest field goal in NFL history. . . He also did a good job on kickoffs, as the Packers average starting point was their own 21-yard line.
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 51.2 yards on his five punts, but Cobb's 61-yard punt return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter ruined his net average (35.2). Three of Lee's punts were inside the 20-yard line.
86-Brian Jennings: He handled all 11 of the 49ers' long snaps for placements and punts.

49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles


49ers veteran expected to play in Pro Bowl thanks to Eagles

Veteran 49ers left tackle Joe Staley is expected to benefit from the Philadelphia Eagles’ trip to the Super Bowl.

Staley, originally chosen as an alternate, is expected to be named to his sixth Pro Bowl to take the place of Eagles Pro Bowl tackle Lane Johnson.

The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday, Jan. 28, in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Super Bowl participant Eagles and New England Patriots will not play in the All-Star game. The Eagles advanced to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a 38-7 victory over the Minnesota Vikings.

The other Pro Bowl offensive tackles representing the NFC are Dallas’ Tyron Smith and Los Angeles’ Andrew Whitworth, who replaced Washington’s Trent Williams.

Staley got off to a rough start last season as the 49ers opened on a nine-game losing streak. The idea of his career coming to an end began to creep into his mind, he said recently on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

But Staley said he had a talk with coach Kyle Shanahan that got him refocused for the remainder of the season. The 49ers finished with a five-game win streak to finish with a 6-10 record, and Staley played well down the stretch.

“I’m so far gone from where I was in that moment early in the year that I’m just focused on next year and, hopefully, years after that,” said Staley, 33, an 11-year NFL veteran. “I feel like I can still play.

“I think this last half of the season I played some of the best football of my career. I feel very confident in what we’re doing schematically with the people surrounding us, and it shows in my own play.”

Staley would join fullback Kyle Juszczyk, who was the only 49ers player named to the Pro Bowl when the teams were announced in last month.

Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII


Foles frenzy: Eagles fly over Vikings to meet Patriots in Super Bowl LII


PHILADELPHIA -- Hey Philly, maybe it's time to forget Carson Wentz. Nick Foles might be good enough to win the Eagles their first Super Bowl.

Foles was on fire Sunday night against the stingiest scoring defense in the NFL. Philly made big play after big play on both sides of the ball in a stunning 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings for the NFC championship.

Next up after their most-lopsided playoff victory: the Eagles' first Super Bowl appearance since 2005, against the team that beat them then, AFC champion New England.

Foles replaced the injured Wentz in Game 13 and finished off a rise from last place to first in the NFC East. There were plenty of doubters entering the playoffs, but the former starter in Philadelphia (15-3) under another regime has been brilliant.

His best work might have come against Minnesota (14-4) and its vaunted defense that was torn apart in every manner. Foles threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns, showing poise, escapability and moxie in going 26 for 33.

In doing so - helped greatly by the Eagles' domination on defense and a spectacular weaving 50-yard interception return TD by Patrick Robinson - Foles ruined the Vikings' hopes of being the first team to play in a Super Bowl in its own stadium

Instead, the Eagles will seek their first Super Bowl crown in Minnesota on Feb. 4; their last championship came in 1960.

OVER AT HALFTIME: Minnesota made it look easy at the outset, driving 75 yards on nine plays, each of which gained yardage. The payoff was a 25-yard throw from Case Keenum to Kyle Rudolph well behind linebacker Najee Goode as Philadelphia's defense looked confused on the play.

That didn't happen again for Philly.

Defensive end Chris Long had a huge hand in Robinson's 50-yard interception return. Long burst in from the left side and got his arm on Keenum to disrupt the throw for Adam Thielen. The ball went directly to Robinson, who sped down the left side, then made a sharp cut to the right and got a superb block from Ronald Darby to reach the end zone.

Inspired, Philly's D forced a three-and-out, the Foles led the Eagles on a 12-play, 75-yard masterpiece of a drive. LeGarrette Blount showed all his power and escapability on an 11-yard surge up the middle for a 14-7 lead.

Turnovers, something Minnesota rarely committed with an NFC-low 14 during the season, hurt again and not only ended a solid drive, but set up more Philly points. On third down from the Eagles 15, Keenum was blindsided by rookie Derek Barnett, and the ball bounced directly to Long.

It was only the second strip-sack the Vikings have been victimized by all season.

A blown coverage - another rarity for Minnesota - on third-and-10 allowed Alshon Jeffery to get wide open for a 53-yard TD, and Philadelphia tacked on Elliott's 38-yard field goal to make it 24-3 at halftime.

DANCING IN THE LINC: Fifty seconds into the final quarter, with the score 38-7, Eagles players on the sideline and waiting to kick off on the field were dancing up a storm and fans were chanting "We want Brady."

They get Tom Brady and company in two weeks.

BACK TO THE BIG GAME: Long won the Super Bowl last year with the Patriots, as did Blount. Now they return on the other side.

QUICK DRIVE: Philadelphia got the ball with 29 seconds remaining in the first half at its 20. Foles hit passes of 11 yards to Jay Ajayi, 36 to Ertz and 13 to Ajayi before Elliott's field goal to end the half.

THIRD DOWNS: Minnesota was the league's best team defending third downs and was third in converting them. Yet Philadelphia went 10 for 14.

NEXT UP: Minnesota returns home to watch two other teams play at its stadium for the Lombardi Trophy.

With the entire stadium singing "Fly Eagles Fly" during the NFC trophy ceremony, Philadelphia can look forward to facing New England in Super Bowl 52 on Feb. 4