Lost in the debacle against the Broncos on Sunday night was the valiant performance from the 49ers defense.
DeMeco Ryans had his side playing lights out. It was nothing short of elite, stellar and impressive. A whopping nine points were allowed by the defense, which is something every team in the league would sign up for. Unfortunately, the offense didn't want to wake up for their matchup and completely squandered a stout performance from the defense.
Seeing the defense play at an astronomical level is nothing new for the 49ers. They were doing so throughout the majority of the 2021 season. Deebo Samuel played a massive role in the 49ers making the playoffs, but if it wasn't for the defense playing great all year, then it wouldn't have mattered. And that looks like it is going to be the case once again this year.
The 49ers need the defense to sustain their elite level to keep their playoff hopes alive.
It is an unfair necessity, but this is what is required for the 49ers to make the playoffs. If the defense has more than a couple of games where it is bad or even just average, then that game is most likely going to end in a loss. The offense just isn't built to come from behind from more than a touchdown (I'd argue even just one touchdown).
Trent Williams is set to miss the next several games, so the offensive line will take a massive step back. And for a quarterback who needs adequate protection in Jimmy Garoppolo, the offense is going to struggle. Not only is the passing game hurting, but the running game as well. Everything becomes increasingly difficult now. Putting up points is going to be troublesome for the 49ers.
Now, they will be able to handle low-level defenses like the Seahawks -- that shouldn't be an issue. It is when they will be facing threatening defenses that will give them a fuss. Monday night against the Rams will prove whether "rust" and lack of "rhythm" is all that is missing with the 49ers offense. After watching back the Rams/Cardinals game, it is clear that the Rams' defensive line can disrupt the whole game. Kyler Murray was under duress a lot in that game, but at least he can move. Garoppolo will be stuck in mud all game.
The 49ers defense just has to come out and be a suffocating side all game long again. They're capable of it for sure and have to be because the offense looks like they're figuring out themselves for a second year in a row.