The San Francisco 49ers beat the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, and it was a good game overall. The offense played well, and the defense did ... at times. There were also some issues on defense, particularly in the second half, where the Titans nearly won the game.
Yesterday, we took a look at some of the offensive plays from the win and now today we’re going to look at the defense. I think DeForest Buckner stood out with a strong performance, and Ahkello Witherspoon looked good in coverage. He did have a missed tackle, but overall, he’s looking a lot better than Dontae Johnson.
And Johnson looked bad, once again. That’s two straight bad games, though he didn’t get annihilated like he did against DeAndre Hopkins. He did have another bad penalty, and allowed some big passes, though.
Let’s just run through the plays quickly.
Buckner sack in 1st
Buckner sack on Mariota. Good way to start. pic.twitter.com/CX6mstH1qu— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) December 17, 2017
The 49ers do a good job of breaking down this pocket, at least initially. DeForest Buckner does a great job of getting to Mariota with a second effort. That play almost got away from them, but they recovered nicely.
Witherspoon breakup, could have been more
That Ahkello Witherspoon pass breakup would have been a TD if he got the pick. pic.twitter.com/FfIBf4c1sK— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) December 17, 2017
Witherspoon closes well on this play, recovering well and nearly getting an interception. If he got a pick there, it very well could have went for six. Too bad it didn’t go that way.
Coyle, Day combine for forced fumble
Brock Coyle was credited for a forced fumble here on Delanie Walker, but Sheldon Day also contributed by pulling Walker’s other arm back. Or at least that’s what it looks like to me. Coyle has been pretty solid in recent weeks.
Colbert sticks to Walker, but runs into Coyle
This Walker touchdown could have been prevented. Adrian Colbert does a good job of sticking to Walker, but he gets caught up on Coyle, giving Walker the extra step he needed to catch the touchdown.
Witherspoon missed tackle
One of the criticisms of Ahkello Witherspoon is that he wasn’t particularly good at tackling. He’s done a lot better in recent weeks, and I think it’s fine overall. But this missed tackle on Sunday didn’t help his case. Fortunately for him, Dontae Johnson is playing extremely poorly.
Elvis Dumervil is smart enough to not do this. Dumb, dumb penalty. pic.twitter.com/RIuqJp043b— James Brady (@JamesBradySBN) December 17, 2017
I’ve talked a lot about how good it is to have a guy like Elvis Dumervil in the locker roo. But he’s not perfect, as evidenced by this very dumb penalty. He clearly sees the ball go and figures he’ll get in a hit anyway. That was eventually a scoring drive for the Titans.
Walker TD over Coyle
Coyle may have been playing well recently, but he made some key mistakes in this game. This is one of them, as he gives too much space to Walker, allowing the pass to go right over his head for a touchdown.
Johnson out of position
Johnson also had a bad penalty that nullified a second Buckner sack. Here, he is wildly out of position and allows the completion that set the Titans up with the lead. He also had the penalty above, and in general was ineffective in coverage.