Matt and Mindi: 49ers must pressure Rodgers
On 99 pass plays in Weeks 16 and 17 against the Falcons and Cardinals, the 49ers managed only two quarterback sacks. (USATSI)
Programming note: For all the day’s sports news, tune in to SportsNet Central tonight and every night at 6, 10:30 p.m. and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
SANTA CLARA – The 49ers won their final six regular-season games to enter the playoffs as the NFL’s hottest team.
Perhaps because they’ve been playing with a lead, the 49ers also gave up a lot of passing yards in the final two games.
In the final two weeks of the regular season, the 49ers surrendered 755 yards passing combined to Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Arizona’s Carson Palmer. On 99 pass plays in those two games, the 49ers managed only two quarterback sacks.
Coach Jim Harbaugh objected Monday when it was characterized the 49ers’ pass rush did not get to Ryan or Palmer with any degree of success.
“I wouldn’t agree that we haven’t had degrees of success,” Harbaugh said. “Certainly, when you do get sacks and you get pressures, pass breakups, interceptions, you’re having a degree of success, some amount of success. (I) think we’d agree with that.
“We’re always looking to improve. Number one, win the game. Just win. Then, always looking to improve any phase of the game that we can.”
The 49ers, who finished seventh-best in the NFL in passing yards allowed per game, surrendered 300 yards passing in five games this season. The 49ers won four of those games. The only game the 49ers lost was to the New Orleans Saints on Nov. 17, when Drew Brees threw for 305 yards.
In the season opener, Green Bay’s Aaron Rodgers threw for 333 yards and three touchdowns in a game the 49ers won 34-28. The teams meet again on Sunday in the first round of the NFC playoffs.
There is some uncertainty in the 49ers’ secondary with cornerback Carlos Rogers nursing a right hamstring strain. But the 49ers have depth at cornerback. If Rogers is unavailable, Tramaine Brock and Tarell Brown would start with Eric Wright taking over to cover the slot receiver.
[RELATED: Cox's return to 49ers is 'perfect timing']
Brock and Rogers struggled Sunday in the 49ers’ 23-20 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. Brock allowed six catches in 12 targets for 160 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus. Carlos Rogers allowed six catches in nine targets for 113 yards.