LISTEN: 49ers Smell Revenge With 94 WIP's Eliot Shorr-Parks →
placeholder image

Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers run defense faces first real challenge vs. Cardinals

Rohan Chakravarthi
Sep 30, 2023 at 5:41 PM--

Videos are auto-populated by an affiliate. This site has no control over the videos that appear above.
The San Francisco 49ers have dominated through three games this season, outscoring opponents 92-42 en route to a 3-0 record, which only has been matched by two other teams in the NFL thus far.

Through three games, the 49ers have started strong, forcing opponents to implement more of a pass-heavy approach, while their opponents haven't been strong rushing teams as well.

In Week 1, the Pittsburgh Steelers threw the ball 46 times, rushing just 10 times in a 30-7 loss to San Francisco. The Los Angeles Rams had 55 passing attempts and 22 rushes in Week 2, while the New York Giants had 33 passing attempts to 11 rushes in Week 3.

That strategy will likely flip in Week 4, when the 49ers face the Arizona Cardinals, who gashed the Dallas Cowboys on the ground in their 28-16 victory last week, rushing 30 times for 222 yards, with lead back James Conner leading the way with 98 yards and a touchdown on 14 attempts.

In a way, the 49ers will face their first true test on the ground against the Cardinals and new offensive coordinator Drew Petzing, and head coach Kyle Shanahan seemed to agree on Thursday, acknowledging the threat that Arizona possesses on the ground.

"[Our run defense] has been good so far, but you're right," Shanahan said in reference to a reporter. "I don't think we've been challenged a ton in it. I think our biggest challenge will be this week and just what you mentioned going ahead, I think it'll only get stronger. So, we've got our work cut out for us, we're well aware of that. They've been committing to it, they've been blocking it well, and the runner has been running hard and they got a quarterback element that always makes it a problem. So we've got to be on our stuff this week."

The 49ers could see a significant transition in offensive approach from opponents in the coming weeks, as they face the Cardinals, Dallas Cowboys, and Cleveland Browns in consecutive weeks, who all operate with balanced or more run-heavy attacks.

Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks shared praise towards the Cardinals rushing attack as well, pointing out Conner's success this season, as well as the schematics that Petzing has utilized thus far on the ground.

"I think number one, Conner runs the ball hard, very determined guy, makes a lot of people miss after contact," Wilks said in reference to the Cardinals' strengths on the ground. "And again, the offensive line doesn't get enough credit. They do a great job with their gap schemes, opening up holes, getting on the perimeter, getting to the second level. So, they create a lot of problems."

While the 49ers enter the game as two-score favorites, they will need to mitigate the rushing efforts from the Cardinals to see the same level of success they've encountered thus far.

Facebook Comments

More San Francisco 49ers News

placeholder image

Resurgent pass rush, Charvarius Ward lead 49ers defense to dominant showing vs. Seahawks

By Kirk Larrabee
Nov 23

After going through a dry spell in late October, it's safe to say the San Francisco 49ers have righted the ship on defense. The 49ers went through a brief slump of sorts on defense towards the end of October when they gave up big passing performances to quarterbacks Kirk Cousins (378 yards, two touchdowns) in a Week 7 loss to the Minnesota Vikings and Joe Burrow (283 yards, two touchdowns) in a Week 8 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. Then, after a bye week in early November, the defense surged to give up just two touchdowns over a three-game span that has seen the 49ers notch one-sided victories over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. The latest win came on Thanksgiving night, when the 49ers held the Seahawks to zero first quarter

placeholder image

49ers defense ranks No. 1 in points allowed

By David Bonilla
Nov 26

It wasn't that long ago that everyone was trying to figure out what was wrong with the San Francisco 49ers' defense. Desperately searching for answers, the team even seemed willing to yield to media pressure, relocating defensive coordinator Steve Wilks from the coaching box to the sidelines during games following its bye week. After struggling through three consecutive losses, the 49ers have won three straight since the adjustment. The defense is playing lights-out football, conceding only 30 total points over the last three games, a notable improvement from the 72 points allowed during its three-game skid. As of Sunday morning, San Francisco's defense stands as the league's stingiest, permitting a mere 15.5 points per game. This marks a remarkable turnaround

placeholder image

49ers QB Brock Purdy wins first-ever FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week award

By David Bonilla
Nov 22

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has been named this week's FedEx Air NFL Player of the Week. It is his first-ever time earning the award and comes on the heels of an impressive performance in the team's 27-14 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The honor comes on the heels of Purdy earning his first-ever NFC Offensive Player of the Week award. Purdy finished the game completing 21 of his 25 passing attempts for 333 yards and three touchdowns, earning a perfect passer rating of 158.3, lifting the 49ers to a 7-3 record. The second-year quarterback beat Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua

placeholder image

49ers Notebook: Nine years later, 49ers get Thanksgiving revenge over Seahawks; Shanahan, Purdy discuss key throws vs. Seahawks; What happened to Christian McCaffrey's helmet?

By Kirk Larrabee
Nov 24

It took nine years, but the San Francisco 49ers finally got some payback on Thursday night for the Seattle Seahawks feasting on turkey after a win at Levi's Stadium in 2014. The Seahawks' 19-3 win over the 49ers on Thanksgiving in 2014 was the last time either team played on Thanksgiving before Thursday night, and after that game then-Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and cornerback Richard Sherman dug into the postgame turkey at the 50-yard line of Levi's Stadium at a time when the rivalry between the two teams was at a peak. The 49ers flipped the script on Thursday, notching a 31-13 win over the Seahawks at Lumen Field in Seattle that was followed by a slew of 49ers getting their fill of Thanksgiving turkey, courtesy of NBC. "That was a moment I'll remember


Trending News

Share 49ersWebzone