The San Francisco 49ers improved to 7-4 with their win over Washington, and it was once again an ugly victory. The 49ers got another strong defensive performance, while the offense did just enough early and late to put the team in position to win.
We're back for another week of PFF grades and stats. If you have any questions about this info, let me know. I can't go in and copy and paste all their content here because they make a living off that information. However, I can provide some details. And if you have any questions about their process, let me know and I can talk to Jeff Deeney, who is available to answer questions as best he can. You can also read over PFF's ReFo for the game.
Usual disclaimer: No one stat or grade or measurement is the be-all, end-all when analyzing performance. However, each stat can provide a little something extra to figuring out the bigger picture. If you get a minute, I highly recommend reading this 2-part series (Part 1, Part 2) at our Eagles blog, taking a look at their system.
The pass rush had a second consecutive strong performance with Aldon Smith in place, but the coverage continued to have a solid year. Football Outsiders rank the 49ers No. 1 in pass defense, and given the lack of pass rush much of the season, the secondary deserves a lot of credit. Sunday's PFF numbers reflect that.
Chris Culliver had a big game, giving up one catch on two targets for seven yards, finishing with a +1.7 in coverage. Their coverage grading ranks Culliver 15th among cornerbacks. At times he struggles spotting the ball down the field, but I would contend he has been the 49ers best cornerback this season. That's not to short-change Perrish Cox, but Culliver has been doing some work.
Dontae Johnson finished Sunday's game with 29 targets, spending the entire game in the slot. He was targeted three times and did not allow a catch, and finished with a 1.0 in coverage). There will be plenty of bigger challenges to come, but for now he is getting a chance to gain some serious confidence.
The 49ers offensive line was kind of all over the place on Sunday. At times they gave Colin Kaepernick the time he needed, at other times, it was not pretty. The run blocking was inconsistent, with the left side of the line having more success than the right side. And yes, Jonathan Martin struggles in place of Anthony Davis.
Joe Staley: 2.2 overall, 1.2 pass blocking, 0.8 run blocking
Mike Iupati: 2.0 overall, 1.0 pass blocking, 0.8 run blocking
Marcus Martin: -3.3 overall, -2.6 pass blocking, -0.8 run blocking
Alex Boone: 2.0 overall, 1.5 pass blocking, 1.3 run blocking
Jonathan Martin: -2.3 overall, -1.3 pass blocking, -1.2 run blocking
The 49ers last two weeks have shown off just how important Aldon Smith is to the pass rush. For the last two weeks, the 49ers have had four players with pass rush grades in the "green". This past week, Aldon Smith (1.8), Chris Borland (1.3), Justin Smith (1.3) and Ray McDonald (1.1) all graded out in the green. Last week, Ray McDonald (3.9), Quinton Dial (1.8), Aaron Lynch (1.5) and Aldon Smith (1.1) all graded out in the green.
I don't think anybody doubted Aldon Smith would have an impact, but it is always nice to see some proof of it. One example of his impact yesterday was on Ray McDonald's sack. Smith ran a stunt that drew a pair of defenders, and opened a huge hole for McDonald to get his sack.
Speaking of McDonald, he is quietly having a monster season. Through 11 games, McDonald leads the 49ers in quarterback pressures, and is second in the NFL with 28 hurries. He only has two sacks on the season, but the rest of the stat sheet is showing just how big he has been. Justin Smith is the more high profile player, but McDonald has had a fantastic year.
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