The 49ers made a concerted effort Saturday night to get defensive linemen DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead and Nick Bosa some rest.
The 49ers had seven defensive linemen active for the team’s 34-31 Week 16 victory over the Los Angeles Rams at Levi's Stadium. Each of them had plenty of opportunities to chase quarterback Jared Goff, who constantly was on the move.
The Rams’ offensive game plan called for multiple bootlegs and roll-outs for Goff, who had to run for his life when the clubs first met in October. Goff threw for just 78 yards and was sacked four times for minus-30 yards in the 49ers' 20-7 victory in Week 6.
“Teams are going to game plan against us,” Buckner said. “Obviously, they didn’t want him to get hit. The first game we pretty much teed off on him. We made him frustrated.
“They needed to find ways to get him out of the pocket and try to make plays. The coaches did a really good job of adjusting and trying to get pressure in his face.”
The plan was mostly successful. Goff was not sacked. He completed 27 of 46 pass attempts for 323 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, which Fred Warner returned for a first-half touchdown.
A week earlier in the 49ers’ loss to the Falcons, Armstead, Buckner and Bosa each played 90 percent or more of the team’s defensive snaps. On Saturday, those three each played 51 of the team’s 70 snaps (73 percent).
Sheldon Day (45), Solomon Thomas (44), Jeremiah Valoaga (19) and Kentavius Street (19) also saw significant playing time.
On offense, the 49ers appear to have settled on Raheem Mostert and Tevin Coleman as the team’s top two running backs. Matt Breida was healthy, but did not see the field on offense. He has not played since his fourth-quarter fumble last week against Atlanta.
The 49ers converted two third-and-16 plays on the final drive to pull out the victory on Robbie Gould's 33-yard field goal as time expired. The victory improves the 49ers to 12-3 and sets up a winner-take-all game for the NFC West title against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 17. If the 49ers win, they also will earn home-field advantage in the playoffs.
Here is a look at how much everyone on the 49ers played Saturday on offense, defense and special teams:
Total offensive snaps: 57
Quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo 57
Running back – Raheem Mostert 31, Kyle Juszczyk 24, Tevin Coleman 24
Wide receiver – Emmanuel Sanders 56, Deebo Samuel 47, Kendrick Bourne 30, Richie James 8
Tight end – George Kittle 55, Levine Toilolo 8, Ross Dwelley 2
Offensive line – Daniel Brunskill 57, Mike McGlinchey 57, Laken Tomlinson 57, Ben Garland 57, Joe Staley 57
Did not play – QB Nick Mullens, WR Dante Pettis, OL Mike Person
Total defensive snaps: 70
Defensive line – DeForest Buckner 51, Arik Armstead 51, Nick Bosa 51, Sheldon Day 45, Solomon Thomas 44, Jeremiah Valoaga 19, Kentavius Street 19
Linebacker – Fred Warner 70, Dre Greenlaw 70, Azeez Al-Shaair 28
Defensive back – Jimmie Ward 70, Marcell Harris 70, Ahkello Witherspoon 70, Richard Sherman 69, K’Waun Williams 42, Emmanuel Moseley 1
Total special teams plays: 35
Elijah Lee 26, Mark Nzeocha 26, Donte Johnson 24, Tarvarius Moore 23, Moseley 22, James 18, Al-Shaair 18, Mitch Wishnowsky 17, Ward 15, Buckner 14, Armstead 14, Kyle Nelson 11, D.J. Reed 11, Toilolo 11, Dwelley 11, Harris 11, Mostert 10, Matt Breida 9, Antone Exum 9, Bourne 9, Day 9, Thomas 9, Justin Skule 6, Robbie Gould 6, Brunskill 6, McGlinchey 6, Tomlinson 6, Garland 6, Juszczyk 5, Staley 4, Warner 3, Greenlaw 3, Bosa 2, Williams 2, Coleman 1, Valoaga 1, Street 1
QB C.J. Beathard
S Jaquiski Tartt (ribs)
RB Jeff Wilson
TE Daniel Helm
DE Dee Ford (hamstring)
DT Jullian Taylor (elbow)
WR Jordan Matthews