The San Francisco 49ers defense ranks near the top in nearly every category. The unit has helped carry the team to its 9-1 record and has allowed the offense to, at times, take chances.

Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was asked after Sunday's game what it means to be able to overcome offensive miscues because the team trusts the defense to overcome any mistakes — for example, getting the football back after a costly fourth-quarter interception against the Cardinals.

"You're thankful that the defense puts us in that situation," Garoppolo said. "The defense played great, battled, and just made it hard on those guys all day."

There is one category where the defense doesn't rank very high, however. The run defense ranks at No. 20 in the NFL. San Francisco is surrendering 110.5 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses.

Robert Saleh, the 49ers' defensive coordinator, didn't sound too concerned about that particular statistic, though.

"Sometimes, and I guess I'm looking from a biased standpoint, but from an efficiency standpoint, and I know this is going to sound crazy, but the run game is not as bad as it looks," Saleh told reporters on Thursday. "I think (Panthers RB Christian) McCaffrey, in the second half, in a blowout, had a 40-yard run. Cleveland had a 40-yard run. The backs the last two weeks have averaged less than four yards per carry. I think (Seahawks RB Chris) Carson had [3.8] a carry, but the quarterback scrambles for 20, he has a couple of runs. The young kid got out on a couple of quarterback runs, but for the most part, we're able to keep the back in check.

"So, I look at more true conventional run game; what's happening? Our worst game, by far, was Thursday night. I think that kind of got away from us. But when you look at the raw numbers, the raw numbers aren't very good, but if you look at an efficiency standpoint and are we stopping the run when they're giving it to the running back and all that stuff? I feel like it's not as off as it was in year's past.

"With what we are playing, yeah, I guess you would say when you have leads and stuff, and you're trying to go get the quarterback, a run could sneak out on you."

Cornerback Richard Sherman sounded even less concerned about opposing offenses seemingly racking up big numbers rushing the football against the 49ers defense.

"I don't think anybody on our team is concerned about it," Sherman said. "I think that's an outside stat. I don't think those teams are winning football games. I think when you're not giving up a lot of pass yards (just 253 per game, No. 2 in the NFL), you're going to give up yards somewhere.

"There are a lot of teams that are getting rushing yards on 3rd-and-23, and you're going to get 10, 15 rushing yards if you really want it. I think a lot of teams are getting rushing yards on drives that don't end in a touchdown. I mean, that's not something you're really concerned about as a defense."

Sherman isn't wrong about not giving up a lot of trips to the end zone. The defense ranks No. 2 in points allowed (15.5) and has given up just five rushing touchdowns, which is tied for the third-best in the league. Only two teams, the Minnesota Vikings and Houston Texans, have given up fewer rushing touchdowns (Min - 3, Hou - 4).

"We stop them when we need to stop them," Sherman added. "We don't give up a lot of passing yards, and that's all it's really about."