Yesterday, Dylan put together some thoughts on the 49ers physicality, and how they use certain levels of intimidation to maintain a certain mental edge over their opponents. The 49ers have some hard hitters, but they also are generally fundamentally sound in their approach.
Roddy White has noticed that physicality, but thinks the Falcons could potentially use it to their advantage:
"Those guys do come downhill and they try to knock you out, and anytime you do that, if you miss, there's going to be consequences,'' White told USA TODAY Sports Friday. "It's going to lead to explosive gains on offense. We're looking forward to that.
"We've got big strong guys who are used to contact after catching and used to getting after people. As long as we can catch the ball and get our pads turned downfield, we'll break tackles.''
The 49ers have generally done a solid job avoiding those kinds of misses. As USA Today pointed out in the article, the 49ers defensive is third in the NFL for fewest pass plays of 20+ yards. That has plenty to do with coverage, but also plenty to do with making the sure tackles, and not giving up stupid yards after the catch.
Against a group like Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, that is going to be pivotal to containing this Falcons passing attack. I expect the 49ers to give up a fair number of yards to Matt Ryan, even in victory, and really you could say especially in victory. The key is just not letting the Falcons break those monster plays that can be back-breakers.
That will require keeping the Falcons receivers in front of them, but also getting hands on Matt Ryan. If the 49ers can get some early pressure on Ryan, they should be able to force some earlier throws, before the Falcons receivers are really in the best position to turn it up field for a big gain.
Want to join the Niners Nation discussion? Register for free (no spam!). Make sure and follow us on Twitter @ninersnation and Like us on Facebook to get the full experience in what hopefully leads to Lombardi No. 6 in New Orleans!