The San Francisco 49ers defense has put in a ton of work this season. It is not a surprising development given the Chip Kelly offense, but it is still something to say the least. And this has resulted in rookie defensive tackle DeForest Buckner getting more work in year one than many might have imagined.
For the second straight week, Buckner played all of the team’s defensive snaps. He finished the game with 11 tackles, two for a loss, two sacks, and four quarterback hits.
Buckner had played in all but a handful of snaps in each of his first ten games, but now there is no pretense about missing any snaps. And that has led to some huge numbers. Buckner has played 821 defensive snaps this season. According to Matt Barrows, Justin Smith played 924 snaps in 16 games in 2011. Buckner has played in 12 of the 49ers 13 games, and has three games remaining. So long as Buckner stays healthy, he will likely move past Smith in Week 16. It’s a busy year for him indeed.
Quinton Dial was inactive for the second time in three games, this time with an elbow injury. Chris Jones got his third straight start at defensive end. The bar is pretty low for competent performance on the 49ers defense, but Jones has had some solid moments. And while he is likely not a long-term option on the line, it’s nice to see the team potentially develop a little depth with him as an option.
Aaron Lynch returned to the active roster, for the first time since suffering a high ankle sprain in Week 7. Eli Harold started opposite Ahmad Brooks, while Tank Carradine was a healthy scratch. Brooks played 73 of 84 snaps, Harold played 47 of 84 snaps, and Lynch played 24 of 84 snaps.
Here is the full defensive snap count (gamebook PDF).