When an NFL team loses, there is blame to pass around because it is a team game. That said, in the San Francisco 49ers 10-9 loss to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, the 49ers’ defense should not receive any blame as they did their job in containing the Panthers’ offense.
Looking at the stats from the game, it is clear that the 49ers’ defense did what they could against a Panthers offense that had been hitting on all cylinders. They held Panthers quarterback Cam Newton in check as he was 16-of-32 passing for 169 yards with an interception, while being only able to run the ball for 17 yards on seven carries.
In addition, the 49ers’ defense sacked the QB four times while also hitting him six times and deflecting seven of his passes. It was clear that Newton did not have a “great” game like in the previous weeks.
A very good Panthers rushing attack also found out what the 49ers’ defense could do. While the DeAngelo Williams scored on a 27-yard touchdown run, the Panthers couldn’t fully get the run game going. Carolina had 111 yards rushing, and were held under four yards per rush attempt. It was clear that the San Francisco defense was slowing down what the Panthers do best.
All a team can do is ask its defense to give it a chance to win a football game. On Sunday, the 49ers’ defense did just that, but was let down by the inability of the 49ers’ offense to score.