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Week 13: Defensive Effort Wasted In Loss
Defense kept up the fight while the offense and special teams let them down.
by Steve Saslow

Here are our position by position grades:

Quarterback:

Trent Edwards struggled in the rainy weather as he short armed a number of throws especially when receivers were open. He was never comfortable as he was also hampered by a groin injury suffered early in the game. J.P. Losman replaced him and made a few plays but also couldn't do anything in the red zone. He held the ball too long as always and he was sacked three times. Grade D: Need to find a way to punch it in.

Running Backs:

Marshawn Lynch had a fantastic game but they didn't use him enough. He averaged 8.4 yards per carry but for some reason only had 16 carries. He did lose a fumble with :34 left in the first half. Fred Jackson only ran five times for eight yards and had just two short catches as Lynch was the guy today. Corey McIntyre dropped a screen pass when he was wide open. Grade B+: Not this unit's fault.

Receivers:

Lee Evans was not matched up with Nate Clements on every play as they didn't move Clements around much. He finished with seven catches for 80 yards. Josh Reed was the check off receiver early and made some plays finishing with a workman-like five catches for 58 yards. James Hardy was called for a holding penalty on the Bills second possession and didn't see a pass thrown his way. They tried to get Roscoe Parrish involved as he had one nine yard run and a catch on a sideline screen. He dropped a pass in the end zone. Derek Schouman lowered his head and pounded his way to a first down on a third down pass to start the 2nd quarter. He is becoming a receiving threat as he caught four balls for 44 yards. Grade C-: Still needs to come up with the big play.

Offensive Line:

Did a nice job of pass protection and run blocking. Edwards wasn't sacked while Losman was sacked three times but they were coverage sacks. Duke Preston snapped the ball once before the snap count was done. He also was called for a false start and got in Edwards way on a scramble. Derrick Dockery did a nice job of run blocking and sprung Lynch's 50 yard run. He was called for an illegal block in the back on a critical drive late in the third quarter. Grade A-: 6.2 yards per carry was very nice.

Defensive Line:

Ryan Denney had a big day. He had a nice lateral play to stop Gore for a one yard loss on the opening possession. He also had a two sacks and forced fumble in the 4th quarter while gaining six tackles. Chris Kelsay had a tackle for loss in the first quarter as well and led the team with seven tackles and had a sack. Marcus Stroud had four tackles while Kyle Williams had five. Spencer Johnson had a tackle for loss. Grade A: Allowed only 2.1 yards per carry.

Linebackers:

Paul Posluszny seems to be hitting the rookie wall in his second season as he was very quiet with four tackles. Kawika Mitchell had a very quiet five tackles. Keith Ellison had two and whiffed on at least one tackle. Grade D: This unit has been struggling.

Secondary:

Terrence McGee was beaten for a third down completion for 16 yards on the opening series. Dustin Fox was also beaten for a third down conversion pass on that same opening series that ended with the game's only touchdown. Leodis McKelvin was beaten by Bruce for that score. He also missed a tackle on Gore on a third down sweep that kept that drive going early and was called for a pass interference penalty on a third down incompletion. Bryan Scott was active and recovered a fumble. Ko Simpson was barely heard from as he had two quiet tackles. Grade C+: Didn't cost them the game but the first drive struggles cost them.

Special Teams:

Brian Moorman shanked his first two punts of the day to help give the 49ers a huge field position edge in the first half. He finished with a 26 yard average on three punts. Rian Lindell missed two field goals both off the left uprights from 20 and 40 yards out. He hit from 22 yards out. Ryan Neill snapped the ball to high on Lindell's first miss and too low on Moorman's first punt. Moorman did a nice job on both those snaps just to execute the play. What was Roscoe Parrish doing fielding a punt at the one? He did make up for it with a 26 yard return. They were kicking away from Leodis McKelvin so Fred Jackson returned the first kickoff for 18 yards. McKelvin returned the 2nd half kickoff 37 yards. The coverage unit played well allowing a two kickoff returns for 38 yards and three punt return yards. Grade D: The specialists from this unit let the team down.

Coaching:

Dick Jauron has to do something about terrible communications during the game. They blew three timeouts because of miscommunication between the coaches and the players. They even called a timeout before a punt when they didn't have 11 on the field. That cost them a big timeout for their final drive in the first half. Turk Schonert got too cute down at the goal line in the 2nd quarter. They were running well but when a five yard run got them to the two they threw the next two times and had to settle for a missed field goal attempt. Why does he refuse to stay with the running game when they are dropping six in the secondary? Perry Fewell made nice adjustments after the opening touchdown drive. Probably should have kicked the field goal on 4th and 2 from the 7 knowing how much trouble they had getting yards by the goal line. Grade D-: What do they have against running the football?



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