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September 27, 2013
Snap judgments: Skuta starts and Lemonier shines; more snaps for Baldwin?


Veteran Dan Skuta started Thursday's game at right outside linebacker in place of Aldon Smith. But it was rookie Corey Lemonier who ended up playing more snaps -- 43 of the the team's 67 defensive plays compared to 32 for Skuta. Lemonier entered the game in the team's nickel and dime defenses, which were prevalent considering that the Rams quickly fell behind and had no success running the ball.

Both players were active, and Lemonier looked good as a pass rusher. He was credited with three tackles, a quarterback hit and a pass defense. Led by NaVorro Bowman and Ahmad Brooks, the 49ers sacked quarterback Sam Bradford five times.

The lopsided score also allowed the team to rest defensive ends Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, both of whom have been on the injury report for the last two games and who will benefit from the extra three day's rest. McDonald played 53 snaps while Smith played 43. A week earlier against the Colts, Smith was on the field for 57 snaps while McDonald saw 56 snaps.

On offense, the team's plan appeared to be to give rookie Quinton Patton the lion's share of the snaps at No. 2 receiver. That plan went awry, however, when Patton hurt his foot in the first half and did not return. Kyle Williams resumed his previous role as the No. 2 receiver, playing 22 of the team's 69 snaps. Jon Baldwin, who received praise from Jim Harbaugh after the game, was next among wideouts with 16 snaps.

Of course, this was a big game for the running backs and run blockers. Because of that, all three tight ends saw plenty of action, as did fullback Bruce Miller. That group, as well as the offensive line, stood out in the victory.

Pass catcher snap count
WR Anquan Boldin: 54; 78%
TE Vance McDonald 49; 71%
TE Vernon Davis 49; 71%
WR Kyle Williams 22; 32%
WR Jon Baldwin 16; 23%
TE Garrett Celek 15; 22%
WR Kassim Osgood 13;19%
WR Quinton Patton 7; 10%

-- Matt Barrows


Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.


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