Matt Barrows (@MattBarrows) of the Sac Bee had it right on KNBR Monday, when he said the defense plays well but then finally collapses in the fourth quarter because they have been on the field too long. That's exactly what happened in the last two games.
This should be obvious, but apparently it's not. A few more numbers to chew on:
3rd down percentage is not the problem. For the year --- 14 / 38 = 36.8%. That's a very good defensive 3rd down %.
How the defense did on 3rd down last 2 games:
Seattle was 5 / 16 = 31.3% against us, 22% in the 1st half
...............In their other games they converted 43.5 %
Indy was 5 / 12 = 41.7% against us, 17% in the 1st half
...................In their other games they converted 52.0 %
Those are good percentages, but in each game they started to convert more in the 2nd half. Why? Defense tired out. It's clear as day the defensive struggles have been a by-product of the offense not sustaining any drives. You cannot honestly watch these games and tell me the offense is not largely responsible.
The 49ers offense has ran 184 plays in 3 games (29th in NFL). It's not like we're moving ball but running out of time because the defense is not getting off the field. It's the opposite. The 49ers are not moving the ball AT ALL. The defense is getting off the field, but with decreasing frequency as the game progresses. Not surprising when they're on the field all game long.
If you think the "right" NT is going to fix this problem you're dreaming. This is a massive team failure and no one player is the problem or the solution. It's not just Dorsey tiring out late in games, it's the entire defense. Smith, McDonald, Brooks, Bowman....they were all getting washed out in the 4th. Every defense, no matter how talented, needs rest. People expect this defense to play 2/3 of the game and be stout against the run at all times. That's ridiculous and it's not how football works.
[ Edited by SofaKing on Sep 24, 2013 at 2:32 PM ]