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PFF grades and snap counts: Warner and Ward lead the way for the defense

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25 pressures on the night from the defense.

Green Bay Packers v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers mandhandled the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night football. A victory that some media members are calling the most impressive win all season. Let’s get into the PFF grades and snap counts.

Offense-48 snaps

The Brunskill swap for Skule proved to be the difference in the game. The offense took off once Brunskill was on the field. The wide receiver split was interesting. A heavy dose of Samuel and Sanders, with Bourne sprinkled in. James saw more playing time, while Pettis was only on the field for one passing play.

Celek has jumped Dwelley for TE2 unless it was just a matchup Kyle Shanahan liked. Guessing that was the case, considering Kyle Juszczyk played fewer than half of the snaps.

Top five grades

Kittle 90.8

Garoppolo 78.1

McGlinchey 75.7

Brunskill 72.9

Richburg 72.3.

The one area the Packers had the advantage coming into the game was on the edge against the 49ers tackles. Both tackles listed in the top five tells you all we need to know about how the game went. This may be the first time all season both offensive tackles have been listed here.

Kittle and Richburg are hardly a surprise. Garoppolo maybe for some, but he played the position exactly how Shanahan wants. Quick decision-making with the ball placement to allow receivers to run after the catch.

Bottom five grades

James 57.8

Mostert 57.1

Skule 55.6

Celek 54.1

Juszczyk 49.9

Skule gave up a sack and a QB hit and was also penalized in 20 snaps. He didn’t give the coaching staff much of choice. Mostert had a drop, and that’s likely why he falls here.

Defense-79 snaps

A blowout victory means you don’t have to play your starters much in the second half. For guys like Buckner and Armstead, that’s huge, considering all the heavy lifting they’ve done this season.

Before the game was decided, Robert Saleh elected to use more “dime” defense on third downs. That’s why Tarvarius Moore played so much. My guess is we see more of this next week against Baltimore:

It helps that Ward can cover the slot at a high level. This is where San Francisco is at its best, in my opinion. When they put their best athletes on the field. The speed was too much to handle for Green Bay.

Witherspoon played four more snaps than Moseley. That’ll be an interesting debate as the season goes along. Both have played well all season.

Top five defensive grades

Warner 92.9?

Ward 91.4

Bosa 83.0

Armstead 74.7

D. Moore 73.6

Warner is developing into one of the NFL’s best linebackers. He had nine stops against the Packers, which, come on. He also had a sack and two hurries. In coverage, Warner was targeted four times and allowed four catches, but only for eight total yards. The definition of a dominant performance.

Ward had four stops and broke up two passes in coverage. It’s a luxury to be able to put your starting safety down in the slot and have zero drop off. That speaks to the depth and talent on this defense.

Once again, the defensive line is well-represented. Bosa was credited with five total hurries, including a sack. He has another sack and hurry negated by a penalty. Moore and Armstead each have five pressures as well. For good measure, so did Buckner.

Bottom five defensive grades

Thomas 52.0

T. Moore 45.8

Al-Shaair 45.2

Reed Jr. 43.6

Williams 37.9

Al-Shaair is still in that “running around like a chicken with his head cut off” phase. He’ll be fine. Thomas actually came in before Moore on third downs but didn’t produce, while Williams missed a tackle and was flagged for a pass interference call. Williams was turned around in coverage a couple of times as well.

On the night, the defense finished with only four missed tackles. It’s not just their athleticism but the ability to finish plays that are making life a living hell for opposing offenses.