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49ers-Cardinals recap: Looking at San Francisco’s sacks, part 2

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The 49ers were successful getting to Carson Pamer in Week 4. We break down some of the sacks with video.

San Francisco 49ers v Arizona Cardinals Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers fell short against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 4, but one area where they performed well was the pass rush. Arizona’s offensive line is poor, to be sure, but the 49ers executed, and that’s huge for a young team.

San Francisco sacked Carson Palmer six times, with a seventh one that was called back on an offensive holding penalty. We’ve already taken a look at the first three sacks in another film study post, and today we’re going to take a look at the other three, plus the one that was called off.

I think, largely, the 49ers’ sacks were a product of smart calls at the right time. Multiple times Palmer was brought down even before his first dumpoff option was turning around to catch a pass.

Let’s take a look at the film.

3:44 in 4th Quarter: 1st and 10 from ARI 45: Palmer sacked at ARI 40 for -5 yards (Ray-Ray Armstrong)

As we did in the last post, we’re eschewing coaches film on the plays where it doesn’t really matter. Right here, there’s nothing really to analyze down the field. The running back was supposed to pick up the blitz, and he wasn’t even close to being prepared for the timing of Armstrong. Just a brutal play.

3:01 in 4th Quarter: 3rd and 15 from ARI 40: Palmer sacked at ARI 29 for -11 yards (Elvis Dumervil)

Not a lot to see here as far as protection goes. Dumervil made it around the left tackle quickly and the left guard also found his way onto the ground. But by then, Palmer was already prey for Dumervil. Let’s see what was happening downfield.

As suspected, the Cardinals were banking on a lot more time. All of the routes, even the underneath route, take some time to develop. The underneath route is far behind the first-down marker so he was never really an option. The 49ers played the coverage well here, sticking to the receivers as they turned around. Even if Palmer was clean, he’d have been hard-pressed to make that throw with the coverage.

1:23 in 4th Quarter: 2nd and 5 from ARI 14: Palmer sacked at ARI 6 for -8 yards (Elvis Dumervil)

Hey look, it’s a delayed stunt, and it works beautifully. Dumervil cuts inside the left tackle and left guard, who double team the man on the outside. Palmer pump fakes, but as he’s pump faking, he’s brought down.

It looks like Palmer is pump-faking to the two in the middle, but the 49ers have such close coverage he thinks better of the pass. It’s possible he intends to go to his underneath option after the pump fake, but Dumervil is already there to bring him down.

1:10 in Overtime: 2nd and 10 from SF 25: Palmer sacked at SF 30 for -5 yards (Deforest Buckner) (offensive holding, no play)

I didn’t include the coaches film for this play because the receivers largely stay on screen for the time that Palmer is actively looking for someone to throw to. Palmer definitely has time to go to his underneath option here, and given the positioning on the field, probably should have. But he wants to make the big play in overtime, so when Harold gets the original pressure, Palmer steps up. Buckner disengages well and tracks Palmer down.