Matt Kartozian-US PRESSWIRE
The biggest noticeable difference in Monday night's game was easily tackling. The 49ers did it, the Cardinals did not.
Difference tonight: 49ers tackling. Cardinals not,— Tre Faaborg (@Tre9er) October 30, 2012
Apparently I wasn't too far off, as Dan Shonka of the renowned Ourlads NFL Scouting Service retweeted me shortly thereafter. I guess this is the point where I kick my feet up and let the dollars roll-in, right? No? Oh, OK.
At any rate it was blatantly obvious that the Cardinals were failing to tackle the 49ers receivers all night, as evidenced by Pro Football Focus pointing out that 62 of Michael Crabtree's 72 receiving yards came after the catch. That and, well, the replays of Patrick Peterson playing twister by himself as Crabtree ran into the end-zone.
On the other hand, the 49ers were tackling machines, especially in the secondary, where guys like Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, and Carlos Rogers made stops all night long. Goldson had a particularly punishing hit on Early Doucet (maybe he should change his name to "Late"?), as seen below.
Wait, let me look at that a few more times...yep, I'm pretty sure he's down and that is, in fact, a tackle.
Whitner and Goldson had seven tackles each while Rogers had six of his own. That's 20 tackles by guys generally considered to be responsible for stopping big plays as the last line of defense. Most of these came in the passing game as the Cardinals only attempted eight rushing plays Monday night.
No single 49ers defender had a negative grade against those eight rushing attempts, per PFF. It was very clear all night: the 49ers were intent on making the tackle.