BEASTwriter Review: 49ers Tank Carradine and Arik Armstead receive top grades against Seahawks, Buckner not far behind

Defensive line plays fundamentally sound  

The San Francisco 49ers defensive line did a nice job bottling up the Seattle Seahawks run game. They played fundamentally sound while bringing down ball carriers on initial contact. By my count, three defensive lineman did not miss a single assignment in the run game. 

Those players were entrenched starters DT DeForest Buckner, DE Tank Carradine, and DE Arik Armstead

In addition, the unit only accounted for three missed tackles. Two by first-round pick (No. 3) DE Solomon Thomas and one by Armstead. Furthermore, the unit held the Seahawks rushing game to a stingy 3.5 yards per carry. That’s .1 better than last week against the Carolina Panthers. 

The problem this year isn’t the run stuffing. It’s the pass rush. Last week was horrible. This week was a different storyline. How did your favorite players stack up? Below are my week 2 grades on how each defensive lineman fared, complete with full analysis and statistical breakdowns. Enjoy.

DT DeForest Buckner (3-technique)

Analysis: For the second week in a row, Buckner led the unit in tackles made of three yards or less (2) while routinely pushing the pocket. No missed assignments in the run game, while pacing the team in quarterback hurries (2) and one quarterback hit, and you can see why Buckner passed with flying colors. For the second consecutive week, Buckner gets a perfect run grade while boosting his pass rush. 

Week 2 statistics: 4 tackles (2 tackles of three yards or less) 

Run Grade: 10/10

Pass Rush: 6/10 

DT Earl Mitchell (1-technique)

Analysis: Mitchell missed an assignment for the second consecutive week in run support. However, he made up for it with a big stuff at the line of scrimmage. A true run-plugger at the one-technique, Mitchell consistently held his own up in Seattle. 

Mitchell does not warrant a pass rush grade, as his weekly assignment calls for being a plugger not rusher. 

Week 2 statistics: 2 tackles (including TFL or no gain)

Run Grade: 9/10

DE Arik Armstead (LEO)

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Analysis: The ‘rare breed‘ may have had his best game in run support. No missed assignments while setting the edge nicely against the zone-read option, Armstead played lights out. 

Last week against Carolina, Armstead failed to maintain gap integrity leading to a five-yard run while whiffing on a tackle later. He sure cleaned that up in Week 2, as he tied for second best on the team in tackles for loss or no gain (2). He did miss another tackle for the second consecutive week allowing QB Russell Wilson to throw the go-ahead touchdown but also recorded his first sack of the season. 

Week 2 stats: 4 tackles (including 1.0 sack)

Run Grade: 10/10

Pass Rush: 8/10

DE Solomon Thomas

49ers.com

Analysis: The 49ers first-round pick (No. 3) continues to make splash plays near or behind the line of scrimmage. The downside is that he often gives up gap integrity in the process. Last week witnessed Thomas give up a seven-yard first quarter run and this week saw Thomas unable to set the edge against the zone-read option.

If the scrape-exchange was the play-call, Thomas had no backside help from his outside linebacker. This wasn’t the case. Thomas’ assignment was to set the edge, not allowing Wilson to scramble outside. He failed time and time again. Four times to be exact. 

Aside from the assignment mishaps, Thomas missed two tackles. 

But with all that being said, Thomas also had some big plays including three tackles for loss or no gain. That paced the team. Through the first two weeks, Thomas has shown to be an explosive playmaker with the versatility to play anywhere on the line. 

Week 2 stats: 4 tackles (including 1 TFL) 

Run Grade: 4/10

Pass Rush: 0/10

DE Tank Carradine (6-technique)

Analysis: Lined up on the strong side of the formation (tight-end), Carradine did not miss a single assignment in the run-game for the second consecutive week. Kudos to him for playing fundamentally sound football thus far.

However, while his pass rush was sorely lacking last week, Carradine turned it up a notch up in Seattle, recording a sack on Wilson. I always thought Carradine was better suited for a 4-3 and just needed that opportunity to thrive. He’s doing that today. Here’s a few tweets from years back on my thoughts regarding the Niners 2013 second-round pick. 

Week 2 stats: 3 tackles (including 1.0 sack) 

Run Grade: 10/10

Pass Rush: 8/10

DE Elvis Dumervil (LEO)

Analysis: Dumervil was also flagged five-yards for lining up in the neutral zone. He had zero quarterback pressure coming off the edge–his sole responsibility. 

Pass Rush: -3/10

DE Aaron Lynch

Analysis: After being a surprise scratch Week 1, Lynch came back with a flurry. The only player other than DT DeForest Buckner to have a quarterback hit, Lynch held his own in the all important pass rush. A weakness for the team opening day, Lynch provided a boost– racking up the team’s first sack of the 2017 season. 

Lynch however struggled in the run game, giving up outside containment on a backside run play while being penalized five yards for lining up off-sides. But all in all, a nice day for Lynch Mobb. 

Run Grade: 5/10

Pass Rush: 8/10

Ryan is the Founder/CEO of NinerFans.com, 49ers Beat Writer, Live Game Day Correspondent for Bleacher Report and member of Pro Football Writers of America. Born and raised in San Jose, he also graduated from San Diego State University. His work has been featured on NFL Network, 95.7 The Game, National Football Post, Sports Illustrated, FanSided Network, ESPN Radio, CBS Sports 810, and NBC Bay Area News. For more information, please contact him via email at ryan@NinerFans.com or call him at (408) 622-0996.

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