49ers Week 16 grades: Defense and special teams

SEATTLE, Wa. – The Seahawks crushed the 49ers 42-13 Sunday night. Here are the grades for the defense and special teams.

Defensive line: F. They couldn’t stop the run or tackle the quarterback. The Seahawks ran right down the 49ers’ throat all game. Ray McDonald and Ricky Jean Francois took turns getting moved aside at the line of scrimmage. On many  of the Seahawks run plays, it looked like there was an open highway right down the middle of the 49ers’ defensive line.

Linebackers: F+. Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks must have missed five sacks a piece. Every time they got in the backfield, Russell Wilson sidestepped them, no problem. Smith and Brooks needed to force Wilson to stay in the pocket at the very least, and they couldn’t even do that. NaVorro Bowman had 16 total tackles, but most of them came down the field after Marshawn Lynch had already gained five or six yards. Patrick Willis finished with just six tackles. He did intercept a pass in Seahawks territory, so I’ll bump this group’s grade up from an F to an F+.

Secondary: F. When the Seahawks weren’t running down the 49ers’ throat, they were abusing Carlos Rogers. He gave up about 10 catches, including a deep one to Doug Baldwin and a touchdown to Baldwin. Donte Whitner gave up a touchdown to backup tight end Anthony McCoy.

Special teams: F. LaMichael James averaged 28.7 yards per kickoff return which was very good, but then he fumbled a kickoff in the second half. David Akers had a field goal attempt blocked and returned 90 yards for a touchdown. The kick coverage team allowed Leon Washington to average 31.5 yards per kick return.

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