It's tough to appreciate silver linings in the San Francisco 49ers divisional loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night. But despite the score, San Francisco's defense delivered spectacular plays in the overtime thriller to keep the team alive through five quarters. Jeff Deeney of Pro Football Focus provided grades for Monday night's top performers, all coming from the defense. It's also worth noting that all eleven guys who played more than 25 snaps on defense finished with an overall grade of 72 or higher.
Here's who stood out on Monday night:
1. Jaquiski Tartt– 90.8 overall grade
What a night for Tartt, who made one of the best defensive plays of the season against the Seahawks. Tartt came up with a crucial forced fumble and fumble recovery as rookie wideout DK Metcalf was steam rolling into the end zone. With just over a minute left in the first half, the safety stripped the ball from the receiver's arms at the 2-yard line to prevent a Seattle score. Tartt allowed just one catch in coverage for three yards to go along with his fumble and takeaway.
2. D.J. Jones – 90.1 overall grade
Jones left the game in the second quarter with a groin issue, but was impactful prior to his departure. On 3rd-and-2 during Seattle’s first series, Jones bull rushed through Seahawks backup center Joey Hunt and got to Russell Wilson for a sack. San Francisco’s rotational interior lineman earned a 90.1 overall grade on eight snaps.
3. Nick Bosa – 88.1 overall grade
Bosa is continuing on his campaign for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors following his Week 10 performance. The rookie totaled six quarterback pressures (one hit, five hurries) and five run stops, the most of any edge defender in the NFL in Week 10, and tied for the most by any edge defender in a game this year.
T4. K'Waun Williams – 85.7 overall grade
Richard Sherman lobbied for Williams to be the leading vote getter for the nickel back spot in the Pro Bowl, saying the corner “kept us in this game” following the primetime matchup. Williams has quietly strung along standout performances this season, including Monday night where he posted a 91.8 grade against the run and a 92.1 pass rush grade. In San Francisco’s pass rush snaps, Williams recorded one sack and a quarterback hit, including a forced fumble on Wilson. Williams finished the game with three forced fumbles on the night and a career-high nine tackles.
T4. Jimmie Ward – 85.7 overall grade
Ward, as well, is quietly coming off of a stout performance. San Francisco’s defensive back allowed just one catch on two targets in coverage for four yards. He also registered a pass break up. Ward left Monday night’s contest momentarily, however returned to the game shortly thereafter.
6. DeForest Buckner – 76.3 overall grade
Buckner earned an 83.3 grade against the run on Monday night with three run stops. San Francisco’s defensive lineman notched five tackles and two fumble recoveries, returning one 12 yards for a touchdown, his first-career defensive score.
7. Arik Armstead – 76.0 overall grade
Armstead tied Bosa with a team-high six pressures on the night that included 1.5 sacks and five quarterback hurries to go along with three tackles and a forced fumble. He now has a career-high 7.0 sacks on the season and 16.0 for his career. Monday also marked his second forced fumble of the season and third of his career.
Deebo Samuel – 75.5 overall grade
Samuel led the 49ers with eight catches for 112 yards, with five of his receptions for first downs. Of his 112 receiving yards, 71 came after the catch. He forced four missed tackles, the most of any wide receiver in Week 10. He has forced 10 missed tackles on the season, tied for second in the league among wide receivers (Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chris Godwin - 11)
Emmanuel Sanders – 70.2 overall grade
Prior to leaving the game early with a rib injury, Sanders caught two receptions for 24 yards. Both of his catches resulted in first downs.