Steve Wilks’s sideline move has been wildly successful so far. In back-to-back weeks, the 49ers defense has looked up to preseason expectations. The 49ers defense totaled 38 (!) pressures Sunday against Tampa Bay.
Let’s take a look at the defensive snap counts and grades, per PFF.
Defensive Line - Nick Bosa 62 (78.6), Arik Armstead 53 (83.6), Javon Hargrave 50 (70.2), Chase Young 48 (69.3), Javon Kinlaw 21 (73.4), Clelin Ferrell 20 (48.8), Kevin Givens 18 (62.3), Randy Gregory 12 (58.3)
The defensive line totaled 36 of the 38 pressures (Dre Greenlaw & Isaiah Oliver had the other two) and was downright dominant on Sunday. Arik Armstead was the second-highest-graded pass rusher at 91.2 and finished with 12 pressures. The team finished with six sacks, but Nick Bosa, Chase Young, and Armstead contributed four combined. Bosa finished with a multiple-sack day against his old buddy Baker Mayfield.
Linebackers - Fred Warner 71 (83.9), Dre Greenlaw 71 (66.2), Oren Burks 14 (37.2)
Fred Warner was the highest-graded defender on Sunday and finished with ten tackles, a team-high. Warner also chipped in a sack, hurry, seven defensive stops, and a batted pass. Dre Greenlaw added five tackles, a sack, and three assists.
Secondary - Deommodore Lenoir 71 (77.2), Tashaun Gipson Sr. 71 (80.1), Charvarius Ward 70 (70.5), Ambry Thomas 57 (65.5), Ji’Ayir Brown 36 (76.8), Talanoa Hufanga 35 (29.4)
Unfortunately, the news after the game was grim about Talanoa Hufanga’s injury. A torn ACL will cost the all-pro the remainder of 2023. The 49ers' first selection in the 2023 NFL Draft will have to step in for Hufanga, and his first extended action was encouraging. Brown and Hufanga have similar skill sets, and the tipped pass that fell into Brown’s arms resembles Hufanga’s knack for being around the football.
The nickel package in the secondary saw Demmodore Lenoir kick into the slot with Ambry Thomas on the outside. Lenoir was the highest-graded coverage defender on Sunday at 78.1. Fourteen yards in total were allowed by Lenoir. Tashaun Gipson finished with the highest defensive grade from the secondary at 80.1.