Another San Francisco 49ers game, another blow out. While it was pretty ugly for the 49ers, it wasn't all bad for Deforest Buckner. It was really a mixed bag for him. He played pretty decent for the most part despite only getting credited with three tackles and a QB pressure. But there was some bad play mixed in.
This week I wanted to take a look at how he fared in the run game. There wasn’t much there for the 49ers as a whole in the pass rush department. The Falcons ran the ball so well that when they decided to pass there was plenty of play action freezing the 49ers at the line of scrimmage. When they were not using play action, Matt Ryan routinely had the ball out of his hands as soon as he hit the last step of his drop back.
We’ll start off at 13:28 in the first quarter. This is the kind of play you like to see. Buckner using his size and strength against LG Andy Levitre pushing him behind the line of scrimmage forcing Freeman to cut it back right. Buckner was credited with the tackle on this play.
Not everything was bad for the 49ers in the run game last week and here is another example. This is 6:31 in the first quarter. Let’s first take a look at Defo. Another good effort on his part. He’s the first one in the backfield as the Falcons toss the ball right and the 49ers close any running lanes to the right as they force the ball back inside. Exactly what you want. The problem is ROLB Eli Harold pursuing the ball. He is trying to go over and around the the play instead of staying home and containing the run. He over-corrects coming back left and Freeman is too quick for him, resulting in a 5 yard gain. A play that really could have been stopped in the backfield.
This is 1:31 in the first quarter and here we see Deforest Buckner showing off his speed and versatility on the defensive line. He is looping around on a stunt and gets in the backfield just as Matt Ryan is handing the ball off. The result is a solo tackle for him for a loss of three yards.
I showed you the last play so I could show you this. This is where it gets bad. 1:49 in the 3rd quarter. I’m not sure what the idea was here. It looks like maybe they are trying the same kind of stunt. What you are left with is Buckner and Purcell attacking the same gap. Defo pulls up before diving inside, essentially taking himself out of the play. Between that and No. 70 easily sealing off his block, it allows the left guard and tight end to get to the second level, creating a huge running lane for Freeman all the way to the end zone.
Here is where it gets ugly. 3rd quarter, 13:47 on the clock. Deforest Buckner just gets blown off the line of scrimmage and driven back five yards before getting off his block and saving some face by making the tackle for a nine-yard gain. Its just a block party all around on this play. The Falcons would make Moses proud.
I know we’ve jumped out of chronological order a little bit, but I want to leave you with this last play. This is not so much Defo as it is the 49ers defense as a whole. I feel like you can sum it up with “when things go right, they still go wrong”. There’s good play across the defensive line; guys are holding their ground forcing Freeman to get away from the design of the play. Just like we’ve seen before though, the 49ers fail to contain the back end of the play by over-pursuing and trying to arm tackle as the ball crosses the line of scrimmage. Then Freeman trucks through a guy failing to wrap up before one more defender takes a swipe at the ball as he crosses the end zone.
This isn’t 11 guys failing to do their job. It just happens to be a guy or two every play letting a good play slip away.