The San Francisco 49ers came into their Week 6 against NFC West division foe the Arizona Cardinals on the back of a two-game winning streak. While the play of the offense has certainly been a reason for the improved play by the 49ers in the last two games, a major reason for the winning streak has been the ability of the 49ers’ defense to force turnovers.
In beating the Cardinals 32-20 on Sunday afternoon, the 49ers’ defense once again was a major reason for the win as it forced the Cardinals into up coughing the ball up for times to go along with a safety. Just as importantly for the 49ers, each of these turnovers came at a critical time of the game which allowed the 49ers to seize control of the game just when it appeared like the Cardinals could take control of the game themselves.
The first two turnovers were interceptions thrown by Carson Palmer, showing that the 49ers’ secondary was committed to being aggressive against a Cardinals offense which has been inconsistent so far this season. While the 49ers were only to convert six points off those two turnovers, this did not deter their defense from continuing to be aggressive against the Cardinals’ offense.
Late in the third quarter with the 49ers leading 22-20 and the Cardinals driving, the 49ers’ ball-hawking ways paid off as Patrick Willis stripped Larry Fitzgerald off the football and Eric Reid pounced on the loose ball for the recovery. The forced fumble came an absolute perfect time for the 49ers as it lead to the offense sustaining the swing in momentum by going on a 18-play, 83-yard touchdown drive that took nine minutes and 32 seconds off the play clock.
Now with a record of 4-2, the 49ers are trending upward and with two road games coming up, there is a lot to be excited about with the team. In what is now a three-game winning streak, the 49ers’ defense have gotten back to being able force turnovers, a staple of their defense. It is no coincidence that in the current three-game winning streak, the 49ers’ defense has done a very good job of forcing the opposition to turn it over. This is the reason they beat the Cardinals.