49ers defense remains the most complete unit in the NFL

49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
49ers (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The San Francisco 49ers proved in their 37-8 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Sunday that their defense remains the most complete unit in the NFL.

The San Francisco 49ers defense is dominant. We knew this already, but the unit’s performance in the team’s 37-8 obliteration of the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night proved this once again.

Because after showing a few cracks in recent weeks, the 49ers needed to come out once again and show just how dominant they could be.

At each level of the defense, the 49ers absolutely dominated the Packers offense as neither Aaron Rodgers or Aaron Jones could get anything going. Green Bay was held to under 200 yards of total offense and an insanely low 81 net passing yards.

Rodgers averaged just 3.2 yards per attempt which was the lowest single-game total of his 15-year career. It certainly didn’t help that he was sacked a total of five times and pressured throughout most of the night.

The 49ers defense controlled the entirety of the game and never gave the Packers a chance to win. In every sense of the word, they were dominant. And that level of dominance doesn’t come as a result of one particular position group either.

Most of the attention this season has shifted to the 49ers’ stout defensive line. Whether rushing the passer of defending the run, the defensive line has been the backbone of an elite defensive unit.

Nick Bosa is a favorite for Rookie of the Year. Arik Armstead is having a true breakout season and is playing like a top-five defensive lineman right now. DeForest Buckner is still one of the best interior defenders in the NFL. Dee Ford has been solid. And D.J. Jones has been an excellent find.

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There is no weakness on that defensive line.

But the defensive line is far from the only part of the 49ers defense that has played at an elite level. Fred Warner is playing like one of the NFL’s best linebackers right now finishing the game with a team-leading 11 tackles, a sack, a tackle for loss, a QB hit, and a forced fumble.

Pro Football Focus gave him the 49ers highest grade from Sunday night’s victory as he earned an elite 92.9 grade for his performance.

And before he was injured, Kwon Alexander was also playing at an exceptional level. Fortunately, rookie Dre Greenlaw has stepped up and filled in nicely in place of the prized free-agent signing.

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There is no weakness in their linebacking core — perhaps with the exception of undrafted rookie Azeez Al-Shaair. But he only plays around 20 snaps per game limiting his total impact.

But it isn’t just the front-seven that continues to shine as the secondary remains one of the better units in the league too. Richard Sherman — despite his mounting penalties — is still playing at a very high level.

And the young cornerback duo of Ahkello Witherspoon and Emmanuel Moseley are playing much better than anyone could have anticipated. Meanwhile, slot corner K’Waun Williams — while he’s struggled a little as of late — is still having a career year.

At safety, the duo of Jaquiski Tartt and Jimmie Ward continue to impress with both putting together excellent games this past week against Green Bay.

There is no weakness in their secondary.

The 49ers have the most complete defense in the NFL with 11 starters plus numerous role players playing at exceptionally high levels. Realistically speaking, there are around five or six players who are deserving of All-Pro honors for their play this season.

And you could make the case for even more to be considered.

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There is no weakness to this 49ers defense. And as a result, the team will continue to capitalize on the success of the best defense in the NFL.