Defense Starts Out Hot
October 29 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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The 49ers defense came into the Cardinals game looking to improve on their third down conversions. They were unable to do so, allowing a 75% conversion ratio. But by the time the Cardinals begun converting third downs, the 49ers had a pretty big lead. On the first four possessions, the Cardinals could only muster 26 yards.
Ultimately it was a hot start by the defense that made the difference in this game. Unfortunately, the team wasnít able to sustain the big plays on defense. Eventually it caved and the field began to look like it did against the Saints. This time though the offense was turnover free, and the 49ers were able to continue down the road to victory.
The hot start on the defense, revolved around the big play. The 49ers canít afford for their defense to depend on the big play to turn the ball over. They need to force turnovers through punts off of strong play, and good play. Yes, big plays are key, but they donít come often enough to depend on. The defense needs to find a way to get the offense the ball back, through the basics as well as the big play.
The hot start to the defense was a big help to the offense, but the 49ers canít expect that each week. It may involve going back to the basics, and playing a little bit more conservatively on defense, with the safeties providing help in pass coverage in order to start forcing three and out situations.