As awful as the San Francisco 49ers offense was on Sunday, the defense was not any better. They made a couple stops, but for the most part, Carson Palmer was able to pick apart the secondary. The pass rush was inconsistent, but the big problem seemed to be the ease with which Cardinals receivers were finding holes in the defense.
It's one thing if a defensive back is easily beat on a deep ball. If one guy is faster, so be it. But on Sunday, we repeatedly saw instances of Larry Fitzgerald finding spots in the defense with nobody close enough to make a play on the ball. Jeff's tweet above tells us a lot. I went back through the first quarter film this morning, and it was not pretty. I actually did not come across eight instances of 11 personnel (1RB/1TE), but I think the difference might be two instances of 10 personnel (1RB/4WR) and two instances of 01 personnel (1TE/4WR).
Whatever the case, even in those instances, the 49ers ran their base defensive personnel grouping. The coaches film is not available yet, so there are a couple plays where I was not quite sure of the defensive personnel. It appeared to me as though we saw the 49ers run their nickel once in the first quarter, and run their base the remaining 17 times. There are two instances of 10 personnel where it might have been a sub-package, but I am not sure.
It became quickly apparent that the 49ers defensive game plan was not going to work. When Ahmad Brooks and Aaron Lynch are left to repeatedly cover Larry Fitzgerald, something is not working well. The team did not seem to make any efforts early on to adjust, and the Cardinals took full advantage of it.
The Packers come to town next Sunday, which does not bode well for this defense. We could end up seeing more 2-WR personnel given their strong running game and lack of Jordy Nelson. And yet, Rodgers could easily pick this group apart if adjustments are not made.