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49ers finally face a top-15 quarterback

Another box to check perhaps?

The San Francisco 49ers defense is turning in amazing numbers. The only team to give them any trouble was the Arizona Cardinals and the short week. That said, there has still been one test the defense hasn’t taken: how they hold up against a top-15 quarterback. I’ve said they need an elite quarterback to test their mettle against, but the folks at New Age Analytical pointed out the 49ers have yet to face a QB in the top-15.

That changes on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks.

This is not discounting the 49ers defense or pulling a “yeah, but” on the team. This is just something new that will be interesting to watch. Russell Wilson is playing out of his mind right now and is making a case to be the NFL MVP when the season is done. His lone interception in nine games certainly is helping his case, as is his 118.2 passer rating. The Seattle Seahawks are relevant thanks to his stellar play, and the 49ers defense will have a chance to ruin the week by containing him and keeping him from doing that running-thing he loves to do.

But that’s the big test: what are the numbers they put up against an elite quarterback? Beyond Wilson, the 49ers will have Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and (provided they are still playing for something in Week 17) Wilson again in Seattle.

This is not a proving ground for the 49ers defense. The fact they have been shut down in seven of eight games is enough to prove their legitimacy. This is more of a display of how the defense performs against top-tier signal callers and if that makes much of a difference in their numbers. Arizona had some fun throwing screen passes last week, so Wilson may just start doing that to annoy everyone.

Of course—if they hold Seattle like they have everyone else—I don’t know who can fare well against them.