The San Francisco 49ers defense is one of the better defenses in all the NFL. At best, Jacksonville Jaguars’ Chad Henne has been an average NFL quarterback so far in his career and some might argue that I am being too kind to Henne. Mix these two things together and what we can expect on Sunday is a situation where the 49ers defense will be coming after Henne and making his work on Sunday a very difficult job.
Henne comes into the game on the back of having thrown for more than 300 yards in his last two games and so far in the season, Henne has thrown for 1,222 yards. What has hurt Henne has been un-timely interceptions; he has thrown five interceptions so far this season, each coming at a point of the game which led to a 10-14 point swing. When Henne is able to avoid getting intercepted, he can throw to two above-average wide receivers in Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon. Shorts and Blackmon have combined for 64 receptions for 875 yards and two touchdowns.
With the fact that the 49ers defense are going against a team with two wide receivers the caliber of Shorts and Blackmon, this means that pressuring and getting to Chad Henne becomes vital. The 49ers pass defense has played well given all the question marks that surrounded it heading into the 2013 season. Currently, the 49ers have the six best pass defense in the league as they give up and average of 219 yards per game in the air.
What has helped the 49ers pass defense be as effective as it has been has been the ability of the team to rush the passer and force opposition quarterbacks to either rush their throws and or throw incompletions because of the pocket collapsing. While Aldon Smith certainly had a good start to the season rushing the passer, the 49ers have not missed his presence ever since Smith left in order to deal with substance abuse problems. The 49ers defense has been able to continue creating havoc thanks to the pass rush abilities of linemen Justin Smith, Ray McDonald and Glenn Dorsey.
In addition to the three down linemen, outside linebackers Ahamad Brooks and rookie Corey Lemonier have done a very good job of rushing the passer from the edges themselves and therefore have helped the 49ers secondary improve their play from that which they displayed the end of last season. Clearly, Chad Henne can expect to be made to feel uncomfortable and get hit several times by a stout 49ers defense on Sunday.
The Niners will have a bye week after this game in London and will play their next game at home Week 10. To see this game, or the other three home games this season, get your 49ers tickets here.