On Sunday, the San Francisco 49ers defense really did step up in a big way. Some folks might have missed that, given that they allowed some big plays to the Arizona Cardinals offense led by John Skelton. Yes, the big plays definitely hurt and there's some kinks that need to be worked out, especially in the secondary, but did anybody even pay attention to how many passes were broken up to perfection? How about the fact that the red-hot Beanie Wells looked completely lost as the 49ers defense swarmed him? What about when Aldon Smith brutalized the Arizona offensive line a multitude of times?
More importantly, what about the three turnovers? If a team has a +3 turnover differential in a single game and they don't fin, that's not on the defense. They did their part. It was all on the offense.
So when folks say that the 49ers should only take their special teams play as a silver lining, remember that the defense, without its best player in Patrick Willis, stepped up big and did what it could to swing things in San Francisco's favor. Sure, Dashon Goldson mis-played that ball that was caught by Larry Fitzgerald, but the mistakes of the offense were far greater.
There's no reason to assume they won't continue to play well, either. They've faced some tough offenses this season, and always seem to come out on top. Going into the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, 49ers fans can take solace in the fact that both special teams and defense are coming off of strong performances.