The San Francisco 49ers defense had a fairly solid performance on the stat sheet in Week 5. Although the 49ers lost 28-18 to the Arizona Cardinals, it was offensive woes that were the primary culprit. The defense held David Johnson to 55 yards (3.1 yards per carry), while Josh Rosen completed only 40 percent of his throws. Aside from the 75-yard touchdown pass to Christian Kirk, it was not a particularly good day for Rosen and the Cardinals offense.
Pro Football Focus has finalized their grades and stats for Week 5, and it confirms a lot of what we knew about Rosen’s performance. The rookie completed 40 percent of his passes, which was last among all starting quarterbacks last week. His adjusted completion percentage was 56.5, also last among starting quarterbacks. PFF’s adjust completion percentage accounts for dropped passes, throw aways, spiked balls, batted passes, and passes where the QB was hit while they threw the ball. It does not give us a clear picture on accuracy, but it offers a little more context.
Coaches film will be available later this week, but in the meantime, Rosen’s accuracy should have cost the Cardinals the game. The 49ers got some solid coverage from their cornerbacks, but there were quite a few instances where Rosen overthrew an open receiver. Some of the passes would have required particularly good touch on the pass, but there were numerous instances where the higher end quarterbacks would have probably connected — or at least given their receiver a better chance at making a play on the ball.
Which brings us to Week 6. The 49ers travel to face Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Monday Night Football. Rodgers has never been tops among the most accurate quarterbacks in the league, but he aside from 2015 when he completed 60.7 percent of his passes, his completion percentage is consistently above 64 percent. He is currently completing 63 percent of his passes, and ranks 13th in adjusted completion percentage (77.2).
Rodgers will have his share of overthrows and missed opportunities, but it’s safe to say he is more likely to make the 49ers pay for mistakes. The Packers entered Week 5 with the eighth worst offensive line in adjusted sack rate. When pressured, Rodgers ranked 35th in completion percentage, 25th in deep ball accuracy, and 23rd in NFL quarterback rating.
Suffice to say, it will be absolutely critical that the 49ers find ways to get pressure on Rodgers. Blitzes won’t be the only way to do that, because Rodgers will adjust. But they need to keep him off balance and keep this Packers offense from getting into gear. It’s been an up and down year for the Packers offense, but they face a 49ers defense that has been inconsistent at best this season. The 49ers will have some roster consistency this week for the first time in a while, but it will take more than that for this defense to contain Aaron Rodgers & Co.