The San Francisco 49ers beat the Houston Texans on Sunday, thanks to a strong performance from the offensive side of the ball and good play up front on defense. There was a lot that went wrong — the secondary, especially — but among the positives this week and in week’s past has been the play of veteran defensive linemen Earl Mitchell and Elvis Dumervil.
On Sunday, Mitchell was very disruptive in his 25 snaps on defense. He was consistently strong against the run, frequently in the backfield, and had a key fourth down stop, which you can see below.
Earl Mitchell, as it turns out, has played a few 4th down snaps in the past. #49ers pic.twitter.com/FpONDWIei8— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) December 10, 2017
The folks at Pro Football Focus gave Mitchell an 84.7 grade against the run, which itself doesn’t say much, but that is his highest grade in that area all season.
Dumervil had a quarterback hit and three quarterback hurries in 24 pass rush snaps, with a pass rush grade of 79.7 from PFF. It wasn’t his best game, but he was consistent with his limited time on the field.
The 49ers are obviously giving younger, more unknown players significant playing time, and that makes sense. They aren’t going to learn much from Dumervil and Mitchell playing every snap, so I’m fine with the current distribution of playing time. All of DeForest Buckner, Solomon Thomas, Sheldon Day, Cassius Marsh and Aaron Lynch played more than Dumervil and Mitchell.
Tank Carradine, returning from injury, played 26 snaps. I have to do some more film review before I have a final opinion about Carradine’s performance, but I didn’t see him showing up when I was watching some other players. Dumervil, on the other hand, is pretty consistent in showing up. And the 49ers continue to benefit from strong veteran play.