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49ers defensive grades vs. Buccaneers in Week 15

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The 49ers pulled away from the Buccaneers 33-14 on Sunday afternoon. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams:

Defensive Line: A-

Tampa Bay did nothing on the ground and Justin Smith was one of the biggest reasons why. I thought there was a good effort from Ray McDonald and Tony Jerod-Eddie did well at stopping the run. The pass rush was adequate, but nothing spectacular when it came to pressure on Mike Glennon as he eluded them.

Linebackers: A

Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith did a good job in coverage when needed, but the former did well at forcing Glennon out of the pocket. NaVorro Bowman was once again all over the field in coverage and in the box to stop the run. Patrick Willis had a nice game, but it was Bowman who had all the flashy moves.

Secondary: B

The secondary had a good game for the most part, but the soft coverage to end the first half as well as in the fourth quarter looked to be costly. Donte Whitner and Carlos Rogers had miscommunication on the second touchdown and the former was also penalized for a late hit. It was still a solid performance, but not up to the standards that the team has been setting in previous weeks.

Special Teams: A

LaMichael James did well on punt returns attacking the Buccaneers coverage units and Andy Lee had two punts inside the 20-yard line. Phil Dawson was an automatic again with four goals made for the second consecutive week. He beat his own record which now stands at 24 straight field goal attempts made. Kendall Hunter also had a touchdown on the kickoff coverage unit after a gaffe by the Buccaneers return men. Great job all around by everyone both ways.

Coaching: A-

The only negative mark comes from the soft "vanilla" coverage on both touchdown drives. If the offense didn't score a field goal on the possession that took 10:27 off the clock, the defense could have crumbled and this game would have been too interesting to see. Overall, the defense shut down both the passing and running game by Tampa Bay and Vic Fangio delivered another masterpiece performance on defense.

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For grades on the 49ers offense, click here.

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