Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

49ers defense handing opposing quarterbacks their worst games of the season

Oct 14, 2019 at 3:00 PM--

The San Francisco 49ers defense ranks No. 1 in passing yards allowed, No. 2 in both points and total yards allowed, and No. 6 in rushing yards allowed. The bottom line: They're pretty darn good.

Even when the Los Angeles Rams ran the football seven straight times on their first drive and capped it off with an eight-yard run by wide receiver Robert Woods into the end zone, the 49ers never flinched. In fact, that embarrassingly easy drive by the opposition was used as inspiration. After all, the 49ers defense had not allowed a rushing touchdown up until that point.

"That definitely hits you on a personal level, especially because we've been playing really good run defense," defensive tackle DeForest Buckner said after the 20-7 victory. "We know they're a really good run team, and that's what they thrive on."

While San Francisco allowed 109 yards rushing on Sunday, quarterback Jared Goff was unable to get much done against the 49ers pass rush. It was his worst performance of the season, according to his 50.2 overall Pro Football Focus grade, and his worst performance since facing the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII.

Goff wasn't alone, however. The 49ers defense has consistently made opposing quarterbacks look bad. Some would argue that San Francisco has not yet gone up against an elite quarterback. Maybe that's true. But still, most of the signal-callers they have faced have one thing in common. Their worst games of the year have come against coordinator Robert Saleh's defense.

In addition to Goff's poor outing, Jameis Winston of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (36.6, Week 1), Mason Rudolph of the Pittsburgh Steelers (32.9, Week 3), and Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns (46.7, Week 5) each had their worst outing of the season against the 49ers, according to Pro Football Focus' grading scale. Of course, Rudolph's sample size is made up of just three starts and some limited action in Week 2.

Andy Dalton (53.5, Week 2) didn't actually have his worst game of the season against the 49ers defense, but he had his second-worst. Of course, he has hovered around that grade in four of his six outings, so it may have just been the norm for him.

The real test will come during Week 10 when the 49ers host Russell Wilson and his Seattle Seahawks. The quarterback owns Pro Football Focus' top grade at the position (50-or-more dropbacks). The 49ers also have Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees (assuming he has a healthy return) in the pipeline. If San Francisco can do the same against those quarterbacks, it will say a lot for the team's playoff chances down the stretch.

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