San Francisco 49ers

49ers snap counts: No wonder defense deteriorated at game’s end

New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner (99) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016.
New York Jets running back Bilal Powell (29) is tackled by San Francisco 49ers defensive end DeForest Buckner (99) during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 11, 2016. AP

SANTA CLARA -- Why did the 49ers defense fall apart so rapidly in the fourth quarter and overtime? The unit played 84 snaps on defense -- their second highest amount this season -- and was on the field for 41:55 of the game. Those who played every defensive snap: safeties Jaquiski Tartt and Antoine Bethea; cornerbacks Tramaine Brock and Jimmie Ward and defensive lineman DeForest Buckner, who ranks second behind New York Giants edge rusher Olivier Vernon in snaps played by a defensive lineman this season. Buckner has played 821 defensive snaps so far.

“I think they got worn down,” Chip Kelly said of his defense. “They were on the field too much because our offense couldn’t sustain and stay on the field. I think that’s kind of a by-product, to be honest with you.”

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With defensive end Quinton Dial (elbow) out, Chris Jones made his second start in three games and played 44 snaps. In his first start against Miami, Jones mostly split snaps with Tony Jerod-Eddie. Against the Jets, the 49ers worked in Ronald Blair on those downs. He played 38 snaps; Jerod-Eddie, who becomes a free agent in March, played two.

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At outside linebacker, Aaron Lynch played in his first game since suffering a high-ankle sprain Oct. 23. He played 24 snaps and finished with one tackle and a half sack he split with Blair. The 49ers entered the game with 20 sacks, which was tied for second fewest in the NFL. They had six against the Jets, boosting them into a tie for 19th place.

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Ward was determined to have a good game after the whupping he took from receiver Brandon Marshall when Marshall was a member of the Bears in 2014. Ward did just that. He finished behind Buckner and Tartt (11 tackles each) with 10 tackles of his own to go along with three pass breakups and the 49ers' first interception by a cornerback since Ward's Dec. 6 pick last year in Chicago.

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On offense, Marcus Martin ended up playing all 57 offensive snaps, the first 10 at left guard and the rest at center. Andrew Tiller, who hadn't taken any meaningful offensive line snaps since Week 6, played 47 snaps at left guard. Zane Beadles, in his first start ever at left tackle, played all 57 snaps and played well.

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When Torrey Smith left the game in the third quarter with a concussion, Chris Harper seemed to be the biggest beneficiary when it came to snaps. He played 25; Rod Streater had eight and Aaron Burbridge had two.

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Shaun Draughn began the season as the 49ers' No. 2 running back, lost his job first to Mike Davis, then to DuJuan Harris, and is now back in the No. 2 role again. Davis was inactive (just as he's been the last few weeks) while Harris' afternoon was limited to five snaps on special teams.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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