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Defensive Reaction
September 23 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers defense put the weight of the team on their shoulders and put together a great effort. The team gave up only ten points, and one real good offensive drive. The inspired play was due to getting to the quarterback, stopping the run in the backfield and creating turnovers. Still the Redskins primary running back averaged 4.5 yards per rush, and while their starting quarterback completed under 50% of his passes, his game was not nearly as bad as his statistics would indicate.

Julian Peterson and Jamie Winborn both suffered leg injuries in this game. Given that the 49ers have a bye week coming up, both should be ready to return against St. Louis. Jeff Ulbrich and Saleem Rasheed played well in their many opportunities. More on this in the linebacker review below.

Highlighting the defense was Andre Carter who had two sacks and forced a fumble which was recovered by the Redskins after Julian Peterson couldnít pick up the ball. Carter made numerous stops in the backfield too. Chike Okeafor had another sack, while Julian Peterson forced another fumble, and Tony Parrish recovered a fumbled and had a nice run back. Zack Bronson made an interception in the endzone.

The starting defensive line put pressure on the Redskins all day. They recorded a bunch of sacks forced fumbled and all in all wreaked havoc in the offensive backfield. There play against the run was not that great, but they did manage to keep the Redskins to only 3.6 yards per carry.

The linebacking crew played well. Derek Smith lead the team in tackles. Julian Peterson and Jamie Winborn made some nice plays. Jeff Ulbrich and Saleem Rasheed saw significant play time and played at a high level all game. This group needs to be a little quicker in pass coverage and in stopping the run once the back breaks into the open field.

The defensive backfield had an awesome day. I canít recall a pass that went in the direction of Ahmed Plummer. Jason Webster stayed on a long route and forced an incompletion. Mike Rumph also played at a high level. Zack Bronson added an interception to the mix, and Tony Parrish had an awesome fumble recovery that he ran back with a whole lot of Redskins hanging on his back.

I really noticed in this game, before the 49ers lost a few players to injury, that when the entire personnel group was available, Jim Mora Jr was really mixing up the different schemes he had on the field. In particular Mora was making use of a speed unit with Winborn, Rasheed and Peterson all at linebacker. As this team gets healthy, I expect more schemes and more pressure on the quarterback which should lead to even better defensive play.

Talk about it in the 49ers Paradise Forum

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