Cardinals vs. 49ers: Defensive formations and snap counts

Ezra Shaw

How was playing time split up?

The Arizona Cardinals used more base personnel than they have in most of the games they have played. The 49ers ran 68 offensive plays, and there were 70 snaps according to the league.

How did that playing time get split up and in what formations?

Three Cardinals players were in for every snap -- Patrick Peterson, Yeremiah Bell and Daryl Washington.

After that, among the defensive backs, Tyrann Mathieu got in 61 snaps, Jerraud Powers was in for 54, Rashad Johnson, playing in a reserve role, had 11 snaps and Antoine Cason was in for eight snaps.

On the defensive line, Calais Campbell led the way with 64 snaps, followed by Darnell Dockett with 60, Dan Williams with 36, Alameda Ta'amu with 34 and Frostee Rucker with 30.

Among the linebackers, Washington had all 70 snaps, Karlos Dansby was in for 66, John Abraham got 60, Matt Shaughnessy got 59, Jasper Brinkley 13 and Dontay Moch three.

What was interesting were the personnel groupings. They spent almost the entire game in base personnel.

They were in a 3-4 set for 26 plays. They came in a 4-3 for six plays, They ran nickel only twice -- once each with a 2-4-5 and a 3-3-5 set. They ran their dime personnel eight plays. Cason was the dime corner.

What was used a lot was an eight man front -- they were in a 4-4 front for 26 plays.

That formation had good and bad results.

It was likely the plan to battle the San Francisco power attack. In 19 carries against that defense, the Niners gained 64 yards. Take away the one kneeldown at the end of the first half, and it was 66 yards on 18 carries. 15 of those yards came on one carry. It was the defensive front when the Niners ran the ball the final six plays of their 18-play scoring drive.

When Colin Kaepernick passed the ball against the stacked box, big plays resulted. he was 4/7 for 121 yards, one touchdown and an interception. In fact, three of those passes were three of the big plays to tight end Vernon Davis.

In fact, when the Niners passed the ball against that set, they looked for Davis. He was targeted on five of the seven passes. He caught three of those passes -- One for 26 yards, one for 61 yards and a score and one for 28 yards.

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