49ers review: Defensive player-by-player


49ers review: Defensive player-by-player

Here's a player-by-player look at the 49ers' defensive performances from their 19-11 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday:Defensive linemen
90-Isaac Sopoaga: Started at nose tackle and played 29 snaps in the 49ers' base defense. Sopoaga did another strong job of holding the point and keeping the Redskins' line from getting to the 49ers' linebackers. Sopoaga was credited with one tackle
91-Ray McDonald: Inactive due to a left hamstring strain.
93-Ian Williams: Suited up for the game, but did not play. (Follow on Twitter @IWilliams95
94-Justin Smith: Started at right defensive end and played every snap. He was credited with three tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass defensed. . . Got past guard Maurice Hart to hit John Beck as he was throwing to force incompletion on Redskins' first third down of the game. . . Got his hands up and nearly intercepted a Beck pass in the end zone in the first quarter. . . On the next play, he was called for defensive holding, as he did not allow running back Roy Helu to get out of the backfield without the ball on a pass play.

95-Ricky Jean Francois: Started at left defensive end in place of McDonald and played the majority of the game. He was credited with four tackles. Driven off ball by right tackle Jammal Brown on first play on Roy Helu's 16-yard run. . . . Jumped offside with a hard count in the first quarter. . . Got up the field against Hurt to cut down angle for running back Ryan Torrain, who managed just 2 yards on second-quarter attempt to his side. . . . Outstanding job of using his hands to separate from guard Chris Chester to chase Beck from the pocket and stop him after 2-yard scramble. . . . Got his hands up to deflect a pass at the line of scrimmage. But the play turned into the Redskins' biggest gainer of the game when Helu caught the deflection and picked up 17 yards. (Follow on Twitter @Freakyjean95)
96-Demarcus Dobbs: Saw action on only a couple snaps of defense and was not credited with any tackles. He played a snap to open a second-quarter drive and was driven off the ball by Chester on play in which Helu gained 11 yards. He was immediately replaced.Linebackers
51-Blake Costanzo: Played solely on special teams, where he recorded a tackle. (Follow on Twitter @BlakeCostanzo51)
52-Patrick Willis: Started at middle linebacker and had the kind of game that will begin the conversation as an NFL Defensive Player of the Year candidate. He was credited with 13 tackles, two forced fumbles and a pass defensed. . . . Avoided block attempt of Chester to strip Helu of the football late in the second quarter. Donte Whitner recovered it, and one play later the 49ers scored a TD. . . . Had another forced fumble later in the game. (Follow on Twitter @PatrickWillis52)
53-NaVorro Bowman: Started at inside linebacker and was credited with eight tackles and two passes defensed. Provided first-quarter hit on Helu to force an incomplete pass on a third-down play. . . . Recovered fourth-quarter fumble that Willis forced. (Follow on Twitter @NBowman53)
54-Larry Grant: Played on special teams but was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @LarryGrant54)
55-Ahmad Brooks: Started at left outside linebacker and was credited with a sack and four tackles. Fought off block of tight end Logan Paulsen to stop Helu for 4 yards when it appeared he had an opening for more. . . . Working against right tackle Sean Lockler, Brooks shook free to drop Beck for a 3-yard sack.
56-Tavares Gooden: Played exclusively on special teams and was not credited with any tackles.
98-Parys Haralson: Started at right outside linebacker and had another strong showing on first and second downs, as he played all 29 of the 49ers' snaps in their base defense. He was credited with four tackles and a quarterback hurry. . . Knocked Beck to the ground while he was throwing a 2-yard completion to Helu. . . . Angled down line of scrimmage to stop Helu for no gain on play that went the other way.
99-Aldon Smith: Entered as a pass-rusher at right defensive end in nickel situations and played about 30 snaps . . . He had on quarterback hurry and no tackles. . . . Showed tremendous athleticism to loop around on stunt up the middle and hit Beck as he was throwing for a third-down incomplete pass in second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @AldonSmithJETS)Defensive backs
20-Madieu Williams: Played solely on special teams, registering one tackle. (Follow on Twitter @MadieuWilliams)
22-Carlos Rogers: Started at left cornerback and played every snap. He did not see a lot of action to his side, as he recorded just one tackle. . . Had good coverage on incomplete throw to receiver Terrence Austin on Redskins' first third down of the game. . . . Had tight coverage on fourth-down incompletion in fourth quarter.
25-Tarell Brown: Started at right cornerback and was credited with three tackles. He came up from cornerback to upend Helu for no gain at end of the first quarter. . . . Gave up two-point conversion after it appears rookie Leonard Hankerson gave him a shove to create separation on a fade.
26-Tramaine Brock: Returned to action after missing several weeks with a hand injury. He played solely on special teams but was not credited with any tackles. (Follow on Twitter @T26Brock)
27-C.J. Spillman: Played on special teams and was credited with one tackle when he stopped Brandon Banks at the 3-yard line after a muffed punt. (Follow on Twitter @CJSPILLMAN27)
29-Chris Culliver: Entered game as 49ers' third cornerback and saw action on 34 snaps. . . . He recorded two tackles and broke up one pass. . . .Gave way too much cushion to receiver Jabar Gaffney on a third-and-7, allowing him to pick up 12 yards in second quarter. . . Jumped inside route in fourth quarter and nearly had interception. (Follow on Twitter @Cullyinthehouse)
30-Reggie Smith: He played 10 snaps when the 49ers were in their dime package. . . . He didn't make any tackles on defense, but he had two stops on special teams. (Follow on Twitter @superreg30)
31-Donte Whitner: Started at strong safety and had six tackles, a fumble recovery and a quarterback hurry. . . . Gathered in a fumble and returned it 3 yards to set up a 49ers touchdown late in the second quarter. (Follow on Twitter @DonteWhitner)
36-Shawntae Spencer: Inactive (coaches' decision).
38-Dashon Goldson: Started at free safety and had an interception in his second game in a row. He also had five tackles and a quarterback hurry. Came up fast from his spot to drop Helu for 2-yard gain on short pass. . . . Had tremendous break on pass intended for tight end Fred Davis to make diving interception late in the first quarter near midifield. (Follow on Twitter @thehawk38)
43-Colin Jones: Played exclusively on special teams.Specialists
2-David Akers: He was perfect, as he made field goals from 52, 34, 45 and 20 yards. He also kept the Redskins pinned back after kickoffs, as Washington's average starting point was the 22-yard line following their six kickoff returns. (Follow on Twitter @DavidAkers2)
4-Andy Lee: He averaged 44.6 yards on five punts with a net of 36.6. Lee had two touchbacks and two punts inside the 20.
86-Brian Jennings: Handled the long-snapping duties without incident. Have you ever noticed that holder Andy Lee never (or rarely) has to spin the football on field-goal attempts? That's because Jennings is so consistent at making sure the revolutions of the football on his snaps are perfect so that the laces are pointing toward the goal posts. (Follow on Twitter @Jennings141)

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Shanahan showed patience with Beathard; Will now have to show more

Kyle Shanahan is, self admittedly, not a patient person. As he watched quarterback C.J. Beathard run the scout team over the last couple of weeks -- how he visualized an unfamiliar play, went through his progressions and handled the defensive coverages -- the head coach saw rapid improvement every day. But he suppressed any urge to play the rookie before he was ready.

“I tried to wait for the right time for him and the right time for the team,” Shanahan explained.

Down 14-0 to Washington halfway through the second quarter with starter Brian Hoyer struggling, Shanahan knew Beathard’s time had come.

“I felt the team needed it right then,” Shanahan said. “It also made me more confident to do it because I thought he was ready for it, also.”

Moments after the game was over, Shanahan named Beathard the starter. Watching the game tape on the flight home only bolstered his decision.

“By no means was he perfect, missed a couple of things, but that always happens,” Shanahan said. “I thought he came in there, didn’t hesitate, competed. The moment was not too big for him. Made a few plays in rhythm, made a few off schedule plays and was a big reason we got back in that game.”

Beathard led the 49ers on two scoring drives and finished 19-of-36 with 245 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception, though it came on fourth-and-20 on his final pass attempt of the game. On his 45-yard touchdown pass to Aldrick Robinson, Beathard extended the play when the fifth year receiver wasn’t where he expected him to be.

“He was supposed to go to the post for a certain coverage, and they had a busted coverage, so he just hung out there which is why C.J. didn’t see it right away,” Shanahan explained. “We had enough protection where he could take a couple more hitches. He drove the pocket and saw where Aldrick was, and he didn’t hesitate. Made that throw with that arm strength.”

Shanahan smirked at his not-so-subtle dig at those who questioned Beathard’s arm strength during the draft process. He sees a quarterback who can make all the throws, and make them from the pocket, and scramble when he needs to. All he needs now, Shanahan contends, is experience.

“It’s about playing in the game and reacting to defenses, reacting to coverages, reacting to adjustments. He’s going to see a lot of things he hasn’t seen before, and that will change each week. It will probably change each quarter.”

Helping Beathard continue to grow through those experiences will require patience, but in this situation, it’s the kind the head coach can handle.

“You’re never going to get a quick answer. You see over time, but he’s got the ability to do it. He’s got the mental toughness to do it. I think he will get better the more he plays.”

Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely


Armstead to undergo surgery on broken hand, out indefinitely

Defensive lineman Arik Armstead will be out indefinitely with a broken hand, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan announced Monday.

“He’s going to need surgery, so it’s going to be some time,” Shanahan said of Armstead, the 49ers' first-round pick in the 2015 draft.

The 49ers will discuss placing Armstead of injured reserve, which would rule him out for at least eight weeks. The 49ers will also be without defensive end Aaron Lynch this week against the Dallas Cowboys. Lynch is week-to-week with a calf strain.

“The more guys you lose, the less you like that depth,” Shanahan said. “Losing Arik, which could be some time. We’ll have to discuss IR. We have to do that over the next couple of days. We know we’re going to have Lynch out, too, for at least a week or most likely more. That takes away two guys who were helping.”

The 49ers might make a roster move to add a defensive lineman to their 53-man roster. The 49ers also expect outside linebacker/defensive end Dekoda Watson to return to action this week after missing two weeks with a groin strain.