PLANTATION, Fla. -- The 49ers had a win on Sunday. Sort of.
A defense that had been logging the most snaps in the league this season only was on the field for 59 plays against the Dolphins. It was the first time they've been even below 68 snaps this season and a major departure from their last three games -- 86 snaps vs. New Orleans, 79 vs. Arizona and 77 vs. the Patriots. The 49ers won the snap differential, 78 vs. 59, for only the third time this season (though they had slightly less time of possession, 29:28 to 30:32)
Another item: The defensive snaps were spread out. Every defensive player in uniform got into the game and played on defense. With Quinton Dial inactive, defensive lineman Chris Jones, who was signed earlier this month, started the game at defensive end and played 27 snaps. Safety Vince Sunseri, promoted from the practice squad last week, played two snaps on defense and another 20 on special teams. Backup safety Dontae Johnson played four snaps; kick returner JaCorey Shepherd played one.
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The 49ers had a handful of plays in which they used only one true defensive lineman. That lineman? DeForest Buckner, who played 57 of 59 snaps. Jimmie Ward, who was coming back from a concussion, also played 57 snaps. Safety Antoine Bethea played 58 while fellow starter Jaquiski Tartt played 48.
Ronald Blair, who recorded his first NFL sack in the third quarter, continues to see more action each game. He played 30 snaps. Tony Jerod-Eddie, whom the 49ers announced before the game would start in place of Dial, only played two snaps. Tank Carradine played only 12 snaps.
On offense, Quinton Patton's third-quarter concussion created an opening for several backup receivers. Rod Streater took advantage, playing 44 of 78 offensive snaps and finishing with four catches for 46 yards. Torrey Smith played 66 snaps after missing last week's game with a shoulder injury. Jeremy Kerley played 49, Patton played 26, Chris Harper had 13 and Aaron Burbridge 10.
At running back, DuJuan Harris' role decreased against the Dolphins. He played four snaps while Carlos Hyde played 49 and Shaun Draughn 24.
Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert was the only active 49er who did not play at all.
Buckner’s 57 snaps were the fewest for him since Week 3 when he also had 57. His per week snap total:
Week 1: 51
Week 2: 66
Week 3: 57
Week 4: 70
Week 5: injured
Week 6: 73
Week 7: 73
Week 8: bye
Week 9: 76
Week 10: 77
Week 11: 75
Week 12: 57