Redskins-49ers film review: Defense

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ILB London Fletcher flashed, as usual, and had 10 tackles. However, he was victimized on a third-and-6 conversion when the Redskins desperately needed to get off the field down two scores with about 12 minutes remaining. After showing blitz, Fletcher got turned around the wrong way at the top of TE Vernon Davis‘ route, and QB Alex Smith’s on-time throw arrived before Fletcher could recover.

SS LaRon Landry recovered Davis‘ fourth-quarter fumble after he rallied to the ball from the backfield where he pressured Smith. I marked him down for six blitzes. He never got home, but he did cause Smith to rush and overthrow an open RB Frank Gore in the right flat on third-and-1 late in the first half. On the downside, Landry trailed in coverage on three completions, including a 10-yard catch by Davis on which he bluffed a blitz and was late getting out to Davis near the right sideline.

LOLB Ryan Kerrigan had another good game; what else is new? He earned his third sack of the season with typical tenacity, chasing down QB Alex Smith near the left sideline. He never gives up on a play, and it’s a major reason he’s a difference maker. For me, though, he didn’t make enough plays in this one to earn a game ball.

Same with ROLB Brian Orakpo, who bull-rushed his way to a sack that increased his season total to 5.5. When LT Joe Staley set narrowly in the pocket expecting Orakpo’s speed rush, Orakpo powered his way through him to get to Smith. He was relatively quiet, otherwise.

***

That the Redskins have given up at least 4.2 yards per carry in each of the last four games is an indictment of the defensive line, as I mentioned in RDE Stephen Bowen’s write-up above. NT Barry Cofield should take it personally, as well. The interior of San Francisco’s line, especially LG Mike Iupati and RG Adam Snyder, executed several combination blocks off of him and got to the second level. By contrast, San Francisco’s front was much better in that area. Without being certain of Cofield’s run-stopping responsibilities, it’s a bit difficult to pin down the problem. But stopping combination blocks is a big part of the line’s job in Washington’s defense. They’re happening too frequently.

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