Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The 49ers possess one of the best defensive units in football, but it's not showing up in the sack and turnover columns.
Any problems the San Francisco 49ers may have are not on the defensive side of the football. So why is defensive coordinator Vic Fangio having to answer questions about his defensive line not creating pressure on pass plays? Some of the raw data is creating invisible monsters in the minds of critics, and Fangio looks to vanquish these ethereal beasts.
The 49ers have produced just nine sacks this season, which is half as many as their opponents and far off their pace of 42 in 2011. But Fangio isn't bogged down in this numbers game, "So although we don't have the sack numbers, which a lot of people want to sink their teeth into, fantasy players want to sink their teeth into sacks. That's not the only measure of a good pass rush."
A deeper look into the numbers supports Fangio's claim. The 49ers are first in the NFL in total yardage allowed to opposing teams and second in the league in pass defense. Fangio believes teams are simply adjusting to the known quantity that is the 49ers defense. "At times, they'll be chipping us, keeping extra guys in, or throwing it quicker," said Fangio, who has been the defensive coordinator since the start of the 2011 season. As much as coaches love seeing the quarterback dragged down behind the line of scrimmage, Fangio and his men have to be pleased with their ability to throw teams off their game on offense.