LaFleur: Niners’ Pass Rush Creates ‘Shot Clock’ for QB
GREEN BAY, Wis. – The San Francisco 49ers’ defense was dominant the last time it faced the Green Bay Packers and was dominant again in last week’s NFC Divisional playoff romp over the Minnesota Vikings.
On Nov. 24, Green Bay was smacked by San Francisco 37-8. Even with a bye week to craft a winning game plan, Aaron Rodgers had 66 net passing yards and Green Bay’s 1.93 net yards per passing attempt was the fourth-worst for any team in the league this season. They also failed to convert a third down until the waning moments towards the end of the game.
On Saturday, Minnesota was crushed 27-10. The Vikings gained a total of 147 yards, passing the 100-yard mark with less than 4 minutes remaining in the game. Kirk Cousins was sacked six times, Dalvin Cook was limited to 26 yards on 15 touches and the Vikings gained 8 yards on seven possessions after their lone touchdown.
That’s the challenge that will face the Packers for Sunday’s NFC Championship Game.
The Packer's first and foremost priority will be protecting Rodgers, so that they even have a chance on third down. San Francisco has five first-round picks along their defensive line and each of them had a sack against Minnesota. The power of that pass rush gives Niners' defensive coordinator Robert Saleh a distinct advantage by not having to create pressure with a short-changed secondary.
“Yeah, that’s tough when you have seven in coverage and you can hit home in a four-man rush,” Packers coach Matt LaFleur said on Wednesday. “And that’s what makes them so tough to deal with because they can hit home with a four-man rush. It allows them to play extremely aggressive on the back end when they need to. They know there’s a shot clock for the quarterback. It’s tough to get by them.”
More from LaFleur on the Niners’ defense is in the associated video.