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How did the 49ers let the Buccaneers convert 3rd and 17?

Almost made me bring out the Heat-O-Meter

The star of Sunday’s San Francisco 49ers win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the defense. I’ve already gone over how they went clutch more than once. Remember, this is the same squad that let Josh Rosen come from behind and beat them twice.

But there’s still some unfinished business to bring up. Like, what the hell is this?

No really, what in God’s name is that thing? That appears to be a 3rd and 17. So how, oh how, and I want a lot of dots after this because this is important...............................................


It looks like some lousy tackling, a four-person front and a bunch of defenders just hanging out back there. I’m not sure what the 49ers were expecting with this prevent defense they were going for, but it was a whole lot of something they should never attempt again. At least, like that.

Typically you’ll see teams drop this three or four-man front and then put everyone deep on the final play of the half when the offense is going Hail Mary. Another time to bust this formation out? Oh, I don’t know, maybe on like, 3rd and 17? Except when you have seven people all in a line in the backfield, they usually would find a way to stop the pass or run.

Well, the 49ers didn’t. It was a very frustrating, infuriating moment in the game. Thankfully this is one of the few blemishes on what was otherwise a very solid game for the defense.

Last year, the defense was getting to a point where I would break out the Heat-O-Meter to see where defensive coordinator Robert Saleh stood with the fans. After that performance, and him hugging Joe Staley, I don’t see a need to break it out this week. But I was getting an itchy trigger finger seeing this at the start of the 2nd quarter.

I’ve read that many of you would have rather the 49ers went into a more basic defensive package rather than what I call “mega-prevent.” I somewhat disagree. It’s the right call here. It’s just executed poorly with the Buccaneer running back being a wrecking ball to the defenders. With the distance he had, the 49ers should have had plenty of time to swarm him before he crosses the line. Especially with the direction all the wide receivers were running. But I don’t play football, and maybe they were spread out just right.

So what were your thoughts when this happened? I know I was ready to punch a wall. The 49ers wound up winning the game, so it’s not as devastating as it could have been, but had the 49ers lost, this is the play I think we all would be talking about.