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Defensive snap counts and grades: Secondary rules the day, again

It was quite the showing from Ji’Ayir Brown

Seattle Seahawks v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

What can a bye week do for a team? Steve Wilks moves down from the booth to the sidelines, and the 49ers defense rounds back into shape. The 49ers continue to win, but the defense has turned into the stingy unit that was projected by many. Charvarius Ward exited Sunday’s game early, and Wilks pivoted masterfully with help from his rookie safety.

Let’s look at the defensive snap count and grades.

Defensive Line - Nick Bosa 50 (82.4), Javon Kinlaw 35 (60.8), Chase Young 29 (86.3), Javon Hargrave 28 (56.9), Clelin Ferrell 25 (66.0), Kevin Givens 24 (84.1), Randy Gregory 24 (28.6), Kalia Davis 22 (41.8)

Nick Bosa led the team with eight pressures. I know, huge shock. What is an actual eye-opening stat is Javon Kinlaw was second with four! Three hurries from Kinlaw were good for second on the team, but Kinlaw’s contributions should be celebrated, considering the team could be missing Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave in the coming weeks.

Randy Gregory notched a sack on Sunday, as did Kinlaw and Clelin Ferrell. The key moving forward will be how long Hargrave and Armstead are sidelined and what combination will replace their presence.

Linebackers - Fred Warner 59 (60.6), Dre Greenlaw 56 (68.6), Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles 10 (29.5), Oren Burks 6 (64.1), Dee Winters 2 (62.2)

Fred Warner received a Christmas present courtesy of Kyle Shanahan for provoking DK Metcalf into his ejection. Four tackles, an interception, a defensive stop, and pressure aren’t too shabby also. It’s time to discuss Warner as the defensive player of the year, at the very least.

Dre Greenlaw left Sunday’s game with an injury but returned and finished with a 73.2 coverage grade. Greenlaw added two defensive stops and tackles.

Secondary - Ji’Ayir Brown 59 (88.3), Deommodore Lenoir 59 (81.9), Tashaun Gipson Sr. 59 (63.9), Ambry Thomas 58 (47.0), Isaiah Oliver 39 (56.8), Charvarius Ward 4 (49.5), Samuel Womack III 1 (63.6)

Ji’Ayir Brown has arrived. Brown finished as the highest-graded defender and with the second-highest coverage grade behind Deommodore Lenoir. Brown also notched his second career interception and missed zero tackles on Sunday. The rookie looks like a veteran.

Mooney Ward left Sunday’s game early on, and Lenoir picked up the slack by frustrating Metcalf. Credit to Steve Wilks for pivoting from his game plan and credit to this secondary that continues to shine since the bye week.