Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Why Baldy loves the mindset of 49ers defense right now

Nov 15, 2022 at 11:37 AM--

The San Francisco 49ers have won two consecutive games thanks partly to some impressive halftime adjustments by the defense. At 5-4, the Niners remain in the NFC playoff picture.

The 49ers defense allowed 14 first-half points to the Los Angeles Rams in Week 8. It allowed 16 first-half points to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. The defense shut out both teams in the second half of each game.

Brian Baldinger joined 95.7 The Game on Tuesday morning and was asked which defense is currently playing the best in the NFC.

"I like the 49ers," Baldinger said on The Morning Roast. "Two shutouts in a row in the second half of games. I mean, you're coming out of the tunnel with the mindset that they're just not scoring, they're not going to move the ball, we're getting off the field on third downs. It's just the mindset right now, so they're closing games out."

49ers defenders credit defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans for the team's ability to turn in dominant second-half efforts in recent weeks.

"He has a lot of poise coming into the locker room," safety Talanoa Hufanga said after Sunday's 22-16 win. "A lot of defensive coordinators, if you're trailing, if you're up, they're really tight and upbeat. He's the guy that comes in there, and he has a big smile on his face. We could be down 30, big smile.

"He's a guy that just understands that we can go out there, and we can change the game on defense any way possible. So, the poise that he holds in the locker room, it just brings all these guys together and just builds our confidence up so we can go out there and make plays."

The 49ers defense currently ranks No. 1 in total yards allowed, No. 3 in points allowed, No. 1 in rushing yards allowed, and No. 4 in passing yards allowed.

"They (Chargers) had 56 yards on 19 plays in the second half," Baldinger said. "So, really, what you see from DeMeco, though, is, for the second week in a row now, in the third quarter, on key third downs, you see heavy blitzes. He's just not fooling around. It's not a gamble. He's just going to affect the quarterback, and he did to [Chargers QB Justin] Herbert. Fred Warner came free and chased him to the left. He's got nothing to the left. He's just throwing the ball to the ground.

"He's dialed it up a little bit. It's not a big blitzing team. They don't have to be. But there [are] times when you want to get there fast, and you want to affect the quarterback. ... They got off the field on third downs, and they were just forcing punts. That's two weeks in a row that they've done that, and you can see that trend continuing if you've got to really shut things down while your offense kind of plays catch-up a little bit."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Baldinger below.

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