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Breaking down the 49ers’ defensive line success
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against the Vikings Before the San Francisco 49ers took the field on Sunday Youth Alfred Morris Jersey , if a fortune teller told me that San Francisco would hold the Minnesota Vikings to 17 offensive points, hold quarterback Kirk Cousins to 244 passing yards, and rack up three sacks, I would have thought that Kyle Shanahan’s squad comes out of the weekend 1-0.Instead, dropped passes, ill-timed interceptions, and missed opportunities were key factors in an opening week loss in Minnesota. While moral victories don’t appear in the standings on Monday morning, they certainly can encourage a young team. The defensive line’s performance on Sunday should be one of the bright spots that encourage the 49ers’ defensive coaching staff heading into Week 2.Let’s take a look at what former first-rounders DeForest Buckner, Arik Armstead, and Solomon Thomas were able to accomplish in Minnesota. Per Pro Football Focus Cheap Solomon Thomas Jersey , Armstead graded out the highest among the three, finishing with a 72.7, after playing in 59 of the 71 snaps. Armstead played solid run defense, but was less effective as a pass rusher. Buckner finished a close second, at 70.1, but graded relatively the same in run defense and pass rush. Thomas ranked among the worst on defense, with a 48.5 overall grade.Let’s flip over to the film, to see what made Armstead and Buckner successful.In the second play of the game, the Vikings hand off the ball to running back Dalvin Cook, who’s immediately met by lineman Solomon Thomas and Buckner for a loss of two yards. The 49ers’ studs are lined up on the right side Cheap DeForest Buckner Jersey , immediately release from their blocks and stop Cook in his tracks.Later on the same drive, Buckner gets his first sack of the season, easily blowing by the Vikings’ left guard and taking down Cousins. This was one of the quickest sacks during opening weekend, per NFL’s Next Gen Stats.In this next clip, Buckner’s high motor is on full display. The ex-Oregon lineman rushes up the field, stops, runs back to make the tackle on Cook for a six-yard loss. Defensive Player of the Year, anyone? In the first game of the season, Buckner’s making his case as one of the best defenders across the NFL. In this play, he’s able to disengage from the Vikings’ lineman and chase down Cousins for a nine-yard loss on the play.Now , Buckner and fellow lineman Ronald Blair III team up for a sack, chasing Cousins out of the pocket and bringing him down immediately. The 49ers’ defenders were effective in making Cousins antsy in the pocket and then bringing him down before he could take off and run.Now in the red zone, Buckner and Armstead line up on the right side of the defense and stuff Cook for only a two-yard gain. While Buckner is still being held by the Vikings’ offensive lineman, he’s able to hold onto Cook until the rest of the troops arrive.Here is Armstead’s most impressive play of Sunday afternoon, being blocked by Minnesota tight end Kyle Rudolph and bringing down Cook for a one-yard loss on the play. Armstead routinely displayed this strength in the preseason, but it hasn’t translated well into the regular season — until now.The former Oregon first-round pick is able to disengage from the Vikings’ offensive lineman and take down Cook for a one-yard loss on the play. This is what 49ers’ fans expect more of from Armstead moving forward this season. Unfortunately, this is the play that most 49ers’ fans are going to remember from Thomas. While it didn’t cost the 49ers the game, it was a mental error that should not have happened. Everyone in the stadium and at home knew Cousins was not snapping the ball, yet Thomas (and Armstead) fell for the hard count.The 49ers’ brain trust invested three first-round picks into the defensive line, hoping for returns such as Sunday’s performance. While the Vikings’ offensive line was beat up and in-experienced Youth Richard Sherman Jersey , it was a strong outing from Buckner and Armstead in particular. Thomas had his problems, but if the 49ers’ run defense and pass rush is to find any success in 2018, it’s going to have be catalyzed from those three players. The NFC divisional rounds conclude this evening with the New Orleans Saints gearing up to host the Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 1:30 p.m PT on FOX, with Kevin Burkhardt on play-by-play. Charles Davis has the commentaryThe Philadelphia Eagles surprised a lot of people last week by beating the Chicago Bears. Some of this is on Philadelphia getting a go-ahead score in the final seconds to take the lead, and some of this is on Bears kicker Cody Parkey for whiffing on a short,walk-off field goal. The Bears have gone home and the Eagles advance to keep their two-peat hopes alive. The Saints are either the biggest sleepers of the year or the ones to win it all this year depending on who you talk to. All the talk has been the Los Angeles Rams and Kansas City Chiefs, but the Saints have been dominating their opponents and when they can’t get the points, they find ways to take care of business. The rebuild they have had officially ended with their playoff appearance last year, and this year, they might be better than their Super Bowl team from a decade ago. This game brings the biggest spread of the weekend Cheap Dante Pettis Jersey , with the Saints sitting at -8. A majority of the public is riding the Eagles once again, which brought the line down a point to a point and a half, depending on your sportsbook of choice. The Saints are the very clearly better team, but the Eagles remaining perpetually scary. They are in New Orleans and the Saints are a different team at home. I’m taking the Saints for this one. Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints Where: The Superdome, New Orleans, LouisianaWhen: January 13, 2018 | 1:30 p.m. PSTTV: FOXAnnouncers: Kevin Burkhardt, Charles DavisRadio: Eagles Radio | Saints RadioOnline Streaming: Fox SportsOdds: Saints, -8Eagles blog: Bleeding Green NationSaints blog: Canal Street Chronicles
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