Having an elite defense in this day and age with the way the NFL caters its rules to ensure that offenses have strong outings feels like a rarity. Well the San Francisco 49ers have one of those rare elite defenses and it is major factor as to why this team is still undefeated at 7-0. The way this defense has been performing is unbelievable.
“Yes, it is unbelievable." Dee Ford following the game on the dominance of the defense. "It is fun and I couldn’t have made a better decision. I am blessed. This can go down as a very historical defense if we keep doing what we have to do.”
Just looking at the numbers alone shows us that the 49ers' defense is on a historical run this season. After blowing out the Carolina Panthers yesterday 51-13, it is now the fourth consecutive game that the 49ers' defense has has held an opponent to 100 net passing yards. or fewer [78 net passing yards vs. Cle (10/7/19); 48 net passing yards at LAR (10/13/19); 50 net passing yards at Was. (10/20/19)], via 49ers.
The last time any team in the NFL held an opponent to 100 net passing yards-or-fewer in four consecutive games was in 1977, when both the 49ers and the Atlanta Falcons accomplished the feat from 11/6/77 through 11/27/77. This team is not some fantasy that some critics still claim the 49ers to be. Anyone who has watched this defense knows how historic they have been. "Pretenders" do not open a season at 7-0. "Pretenders" would have lost to some of the lower-level teams, but the 49ers are handling their business.
"It’s team defense, and that’s what we’re playing." said Richard Sherman about their defensive performance.
All season long that has what it's been about. Every level of the defense has been playing out of their minds at such a high-level. So many people want to point out that the defensive line, the pass rush of the 49ers is so dangerous. Well the linebackers and the secondary of the defense is just as dangerous. Emmanuel Moseley and Richard Sherman accounted for two of the defense's interceptions. They are not wasting the opportunities that are in front of them.
And neither is Nick Bosa is surging towards a Defensive Player of the Year award. Bosa joined Vikings DE/DT Kevin Williams (12/28/2003) and Panthers DE Julius Peppers (10/13/2002) as the only rookies to have at least 3.0 sacks and an interception in a single game since 1982. He also became the first NFL player since Chiefs DL Chris Jones in 2017 [vs. Phi. (9/17/17)] with 3.0-or-more sacks and 1-or-more INT in a single game, per 49ers.
It really is hard to find a weak spot and to try and exploit it. Even if an offense was able to find one, defensive coordinator Robert Saleh will easily find a way to adjust and mask it.
Team defense. One player is not bigger than another and it's evident with how everyone praises one another. At every post-game presser this season, Sherman has made it a point to name almost every player on their defense. The bond this defense and the team as a whole is what is leading them to this historical run.
“We like taking advantage of a lot of opportunities because you never know when a play can be taken away from you. We are just living in the moment and having fun with each play. It is just crazy having so much talent in the room. We are just trying to compete with each other on each play.” Ronald Blair III on the mindset of going back on the field.
With the Arizona Cardinals upcoming for an NFC west divisional matchup on Thursday night, the 49ers' defense has a chance to maintain their streak. Kyler Murray is coming off a poor game and was benched towards the end of the game by head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Holding Murray to 100 net passing yards is definitely an achievable statistic.
Murray will also be running for his life so he doesn't become another victim of these pass rushers. Overlooking this game is not something the 49ers will do. It just isn't in their D.N.A. to do so. It is this mindset of theirs that has the defense on such a historical run this season.