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49ers wild card defense report card vs. Packers

Phil Dawson
Phil Dawson
R. Allan Schnoor /

The 49ers defeated the Packers 23-20 on Sunday afternoon. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams:

Defensive Line: C+

The Packers had their advantages on the ground, but the individual battles in rushing the quarterback were mostly good. For the first three possessions, it was near perfect where they shut down anything. There were a few holds there weren't called by the referees.

Linebackers: B+

NaVorro Bowman and Patrick Willis had decent games, but the pass rush was very limited from Ahmad Brooks and Aldon Smith, who both were in the box score due to coverage sacks. I didn't like what I saw as a whole when it came to pressure on Aaron Rodgers. Coverage on TE Andrew Quarless was phenomenal.

Secondary: A

The secondary gave up their share of plays, but it wasn't a home run throw. Tarell Brown and Perrish Cox both played well when being targeted for deep throws. Cox was pressed in as the nickel cornerback as Eric Wright was limited and Carlos Rogers was out with a hamstring injury. Eric Reid and Donte Whitner prevented anything from getting past them, which means they were doing their job well. They were responsible for three coverage sacks.

Special Teams: A

Andy Lee was called to pooch punt and he shanked another one, but he wasn't on the field too much. Phil Dawson made all three field goal attempts in the freezing cold weather, which included the game-winner from 33 yards. LaMichael James was aggressive on both kick and punt returns and it paid off. One punt return was good enough to put the 49ers on their own 41 yard line. Coverage units were also solid, making sure Randall Cobb didn't do anything on kick returns.

Coaching: A-

Vic Fangio dialed up another masterful plan against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. The end of the third quarter started to build momentum towards Green Bay as they ran the ball better, but the 49ers didn't give up a home run play. San Francisco was great at making the Packers earn each of their scores and importantly held them to a field goal on their last possession. While the Packers had the right idea in grinding it out for the second half, the 49ers defense didn't break often.


For grades on the 49ers offense, click here.

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