Earlier Monday, I detailed some of the changes Sean McDermott made on defense in Week 5.
Here's the player-by-player breakdown against the 49ers after having re-watched the game:
Juqua Parker- He got the start at left defensive end and played more than he has all season. Parker did not notch a sack, but had some good moments. After being whistled for offsides on a third down in the second, he batted down an Alex Smith pass on the very next play. A couple times when Parker brought pressure from the left side, Smith panicked and left the pocket, even though he probably didn't have to. In the fourth, Parker had Smith by the jersey, but couldn't bring him down. He played mostly left defensive end, but also saw some time at right defensive end when Trent Cole was sidelined. Parker dropped back into coverage three times. He was OK against the run and made a good stop on Frank Gore after a gain of 2 in the second.
Brandon Graham- He did not start and played less than he has all season. But Graham was pretty good when he was on the field. He brought pressure off the edge on the Dimitri Patterson interception in the second. He forced Smith to step up and throw incomplete on a first down in the second. Graham and Cole fell on Gore, who stumbled in the backfield for a loss in the second. His big play of course was the sack and forced fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown in the fourth. He dropped back into coverage three times, including the 31-yard completion to Vernon Davis on 3rd-and-21. The Niners ran at Graham for a 16-yard gain in the third as he was blocked by Davis.
Mike Patterson- Patterson had some good moments. He dropped Gore after a 1-yard gain in the first. On the play that resulted in the Mikell touchdown, Patterson got good pressure up the middle, helping to force Smith out of the pocket.
Antonio Dixon- Dixon looked good replacing Bunkley at defensive tackle. He brought Gore down after a gain of 1 in the first and stopped him after a gain of 2 in the second. Dixon also picked up a sack in the second half. Update: He better get ready to fill in some more with the news of Bunkley's potential season-ending elbow surgery.
Trevor Laws- He saved his best for last. I hadn't written down a single note for Laws until the 49ers' final drive. He came up with hits on Smith on back-to-back plays to end the game. On the last play, Laws' pressure resulted in the Trevard Lindley interception.
Brodrick Bunkley- He went down on the 49ers' second offensive play from scrimmage. We should find out more on Wednesday about the severity of the injury. Update: Andy Reid said on his radio show that Bunkley will need elbow surgery and might be out for the year.
Darryl Tapp- How was this guy inactive the first two games of the season? He seems to make plays every time he's on the field. Tapp was not fooled on play-action in the third and hit Smith, helping to force an incompletion. His pressure from the right defensive end position helped cause the Dixon sack. Tapp did a good job of tackling Smith after he tried to scramble on a third down in the third. In the fourth, he sniffed out a screen to Gore that went incomplete. And he hustled to bring Josh Morgan down for a 3-yard loss after Morgan swung out of a Cole tackle late in the game. Tapp lined up in several different places and dropped back into coverage a couple times.
Trent Cole- Not a huge game from Cole, but he was his usual, active self. Against the run, Cole dropped Gore for a loss of 2 down near the goal line on the 49ers' first drive. In the fourth, Cole hit Smith from the blind side to force an incompletion. He later got good pressure and forced Smith to roll out, even though he found Michael Crabtree for a completion. Cole was sidelined for a stretch in the second half but later returned. He was whistled for a neutral zone infraction in the second.
Moise Fokou- He got the start at strong-side linebacker and looked much more active than Akeem Jordan. The big play was the forced fumble in the first quarter. Fokou also made a good tackle on Gore on a screen pass that went for 4 yards in the first. Look for him to hold on to the starting job against the Falcons.
Stewart Bradley- Bradley is struggling right now. He missed a tackle on Crabtree near the sideline on a play that ended up going for 17 yards. He also missed a tackle on Gore near the line of scrimmage on a play that went for 16. In coverage, Bradley was beat by Davis on gains of 36 and 27, respectively. He had some good moments - bringing Gore down after a gain of 4 in the first and a gain of 2 in the third. But overall, it's clear his recovery is going to take some time.
Ernie Sims- Sims had some good moments and was OK overall. He blew up Brian Westbrook on a fake handoff in the second as Smith was forced to run. Sims made a good tackle on Gore after a 5-yard reception in the fourth. He was slammed to the ground by right tackle Anthony Davis on a 6-yard Westbrook run. Sims and Nate Allen had good coverage on Davis on the final touchdown, but Smith threw a very good pass. He blitzed six times, the most of any linebacker. Update: I forgot to mention that Sims also forced a Gore fumble.
Ellis Hobbs- I didn''t have one thing written down for him, which means the 49ers never threw in his direction. He finished without a tackle or a pass defended. No penalties either. That counts as a good showing in my book.
Joselio Hanson- He got the start with Asante Samuel sidelined. Hanson was beaten by Crabtree on the first drive for an 11-yard gain on 3rd-and-8. Ted Ginn Jr. caught a 17-yard pass against Hanson on 3rd-and-1 in the second, although it's tough to tell whether he was supposed to get more help on the play. Hanson had some good moments though. He had good coverage on Davis at the end of the first half, forcing an incompletion and a field-goal attempt. And Hanson recovered the Gore fumble in the first. He blitzed a lot too (six times).
Dimitri Patterson- Patterson was on the field in nickel and dime situations. He was beat by Crabtree on the 7-yard touchdown in the first. But he later made a nice adjustment on the ball and came away with an interception. Patterson blitzed five times.
Trevard Lindley- He played nearly 32 percent of the snaps after being inactive the previous two weeks. Lindley whiffed on a Crabtree tackle. It should have been a 2-yard gain but ended up going for 17. In the fourth, Lindley made a good tackle on Crabtree, stopping him for no gain. On the final interception, Bradley properly instructed Lindley to just go down, which he did. But he got up before the whistle blew and fumbled. Luckily, he recovered, or that could have been disastrous. He was mostly on the field in dime packages, but was the nickel back at the end of the game instead of Patterson.
Quintin Mikell- Good game for Mikell. He was active in run support, dropping Gore for a 1-yard gain in the first. Mikell also made a nice tackle on a 3-yard completion to Davis in the second. He recovered two fumbles and took one of them to the house for a touchdown. Mikell blitzed twice.
Nate Allen- Impressive performance from Allen. It started early when he dropped Gore for a 4-yard loss. He was the Eagles' most frequent blitzer as McDermott sent him after Smith eight times. He twice batted down passes, including one on the final drive that could have resulted in a big play to Gore had it been completed. Last year, I remember doing Man Ups and having nothing to say about the free safeties because they were invisible. This year, Allen is making plays on a weekly basis.
Kurt Coleman- Not much to say here, but he got in the game for the final three plays after Mikell was sidelined. On those plays, three of the five players in the Eagles' secondary were rookies.