In the first two seasons of Jim Harbaugh being the coach of the San Francisco 49ers, one of the several things that the 49ers have done relatively well is that the 49ers defense has been one of the best and surest tackling teams in the NFL. In Sunday’s 34-28 win over the Green Bay Packers, the inability at times to wrap up and tackle Packer ball carriers and receivers became something of a concern and one that must be addressed going forward.
In particular, the biggest offenders of failing to wrap up and tackle was the 49ers secondary. On several occasions, 49ers cornerbacks and or safeties allowed a Packers player to gain extra yardage or even score a touchdown as a result of not wrapping up and properly tackling. The drives in which the Packers scored touchdowns on were the ones which were aided by missed tackles on the part of 49ers defenders.
In the first quarter on the Packers first touchdown scoring drive, 49ers defenders failed to wrap up Packers running back Eddie Lacey on a pass play that should have only been a reception which gained no yards instead turned into a 31 yard reception which would later lead to a five yard touchdown reception to Randall Cobb who broke free from the arms of Carlos Rogers. Then on the Packers touchdown drive which would tie the game at 14-14 headed into halftime, Perrish Cox missed on a tackle that allowed Jermichael Finley to score.
While those were the most notable missed tackles the 49ers had all game, there were several other instances of 49ers defenders missing tackles with Nnamdi Asomugha, having whiffed on several notable opportunities to wrap up and tackle Packers players and Eric Reid, who in the course of having a very good game, missed a few tackles himself. While in the end of the day, the missed tackles did not come back to be a reason why the 49ers lost the game if such a scenario would have occurred, it nonetheless is something of a concern.
Heading into the season, the play of the secondary was one of the biggest question marks and areas of concern on the team. While the secondary had a relatively good preseason, its progress was going to be determined in how it played Week 1 against the Packers. The fact that it was the secondary who was most responsible for the missed tackles on the 49ers defense will not do anything to deter the doubters of the ability of the 49ers secondary as a whole from being questioned here on out. While the 49ers did enough to pull out a win with the defense doing its part, it must work on and practice wrapping up and being sure tacklers if it is to improve its play as a unit.