Things are pretty quiet today, other than Colin Kaepernick sticking his foot in his mouth (keep that discussion in there Fooch's update: Kap apologized), so I wanted to roll out some interesting stats I came across over at Football Outsiders. A week and a half ago, they published a look at broken tackles given up by defenses. They looked at the three main position groups (DL, LB, DB), and ranked out the worst in each category, as well as the worst overall. Additionally, they broke down some stats connected to each team's performance.
It is important to note the relative subjective nature that comes with assessing broken tackles. FO breaks down the details about it in the link above. As with any stat, it is not the final answer, but rather one part of a much bigger puzzle. It helps us consider some context with team and player performance.
There was a mix of bad and good news for the San Francisco 49ers. First, the bad. Safety Antoine Bethea finished among the top 52 players in broken tackles given up. He gave up 12 broken tackles, finished with 76 total tackles. The top of the board is dominated by defensive backs, but there are still a decent amount of linebackers. Defensive linemen do not appear because they do not have nearly that many chances for tackles.
Speaking of defensive linemen, Quinton Dial gave up four broken tackles, which got him in the bottom of those rankings. Robert Ayers led defensive linemen with 8.
On the plus side, no other 49ers appeared in the top end of the rankings for any of the positions. Furthermore, the 49ers were among the best in the league in total broken tackles allowed, as well as yards allowed on those broken tackles. The team finished eighth in the league in percentage of players that resulted in a broken tackle. The team finished first in yards per play allowed on broken tackles. The 49ers finished with an average of 11.5 yards allowed per play with a broken tackle. The Chicago Bears finished last giving up 18.1 yards per play with a broken tackle.
In that final group, FO also broke down specific offensive positions. The 49ers finished 12th against quarterbacks in broken sack attempts, 12th against runners, and third against receivers. Antoine Bethea will need to clean up his tackling a bit, but the 49ers did some good work overall when it came to avoiding giving up too many extra yards. I'd imagine the running back number came primarily from Marshawn Lynch, given the way he ran through the 49ers defense at times. But otherwise, it is something to build on in 2015.