The 49ers pass rush has been a curious beast this year, getting some solid pressure, but unable to close the deal more often than not. Vic Fangio made a good point that sacks are not the be-all, end-all of pass rush, but there is always something to be gained from closing the deal and taking down the quarterback. The loss of yards and the potential for fumbles are just two of the reasons.
As the 49ers get ready to travel to Arizona later this week for Monday Night Football against the Cardinals, the pass rush will be a key component of the game. The Arizona Cardinals have arguably the worst offensive line in the NFL. Football Outsiders ranks them dead last in adjusted line yards and adjusted sack rate, with both coming by a wide margin. If you want more traditional stats, the Cardinals are 30th in rushing yards per attempt and last in sacks allowed. They are simply not good.
Opposing defenses have loaded up on sacks against the Arizona Cardinals for the most part this season. Over the last four games, the Vikings had seven sacks and eight QB hits, the Bills had five and seven, the Rams had nine and eleven and the Dolphins had eight and ten.
The 49ers have eleven total sacks on the season. Can we finally see them bust out with a monster game? Again, there is certainly value in the pressure forcing a quicker pass, or impacting the trajectory of the pass, but taking down the QB before he can throw the ball brings a whole lot of value (Captain Obvious statement of the week).