Running Into A Wall
October 27 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
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Despite Giving up 139 yards to Deuce McAllister last week, the 49ers have actually done a rather good job of defending the run - especially when you consider the backs that the team has faced through the six games of the season. Had the team not given up a 53 yard run to McAllister, he would have only gained 86 yards, which given how good McAllister actually is, would have been pretty good.
The 49ers are currently ranked in the middle third of the NFL for run defense. They are giving up a modest 115 yards a game, which is neither exceptional nor pitiful. Teams are running for an average of 4.5 yards per carry, but that stat also includes QB scrambles. In reality, the team is doing much better against the run. The team has also only given up four rushing touchdowns, which in its self is pretty impressive.
There is certainly room for the 49ers to improve their run defense and to do so, the team should first try and limit the long runs. The 49ers have given up six rushes of twenty yards or more accounting for approximately a third of the rushing yards it has given up. By simply improving in this area, the 49ers can drastically improve an already reliable run defense.