As expected, the San Francisco 49ers have been pitted against potent pass attacks in this year's postseason. In the divisional round, the Niners were faced with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, and now moving onto the championship round, they will take on Matt Ryan and the Falcons.
It took a total team effort to knock off the Packers, and it will take even more if the Niners hope to get past the Falcons. San Francisco got a great boost from their offense, which is great for a team that is widely known for their defense. This year, the Niners had six defenders named to the Pro Bowl -- more than half the starters.
When teams think about the 49ers, the words "physical" and "defense" come to mind. The play exceptional football up front, but it's their secondary that hasn't received enough credit. One member, Tarell Brown, has been outstanding not only this year, but since he was named a starter in 2011.
The 49ers cornerback continued his strong play on Saturday against the Pack, showing he's primed and ready for a postseason run. Brown only allowed 2 catches on 4 targets for 16 yards. He also made a nice over-the-shoulder interception, taking away a potential deep hookup to Jordy Nelson.
He also had another interception negated after a questionable pass interference call.
The Niners are going to need contributions from Brown this Sunday in the NFC title. As the 49ers right cornerback, he will be matched up with second-year WR Julio Jones. Carlos Rogers and Chris Culliver will likely share duties covering Roddy White and Harry Douglas.
If you're wondering about WR/CB matchups, Julio Jones lines up to the left roughly 2/3 of time, go he'll get Tarell Brown most often. #49ers— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) January 14, 2013
And even though he has seen some good ones, Jones is the perhaps the most athletic receiver Brown has faced this season.
With his great speed and agility, Jones can create separation and get downfield in a hurry. And even when he's covered, he is an aggressive receiver that can beat his man to the ball if Matt Ryan gives him a chance. However, Brown is one of San Francisco's better cover corners and will challenge Jones mentally and physically.
Brown isn't loud or flashy, but he is disciplined in his assignments. He can run with nearly everyone he faces and it's rare to see him get beat outright. His game is reflective of someone who prepares well. He has been one of the more underrated assets in this defense.
Atlanta brings so much firepower that it will prohibit San Francisco from locking onto one or even two players. The Niners' will be spread out and their defenders will be asked to win their one-on-ones. If Brown plays the way he did in five games -- all wins -- against the New Orleans Saints, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots, his team will have a chance to advance to the Super Bowl.
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