49ers defense not offended by president's Bears talk

November 8, 2012, 3:16 pm
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SANTA CLARA -- President Barack Obama during halftime of "Monday Night Football" made the claim that the Chicago Bears have the "best defense in the league right now."That statement was met with little opposition in the 49ers' locker room as the club prepares to face the St. Louis Rams at Candlestick Park on Sunday.It's a topic that might be addressed in greater detail next week. After all, the 49ers take on the Bears on Nov. 19, in a Monday night game that could have big NFC playoff ramifications.While the 49ers have every reason to feel good about their defense, two of the 49ers' leaders were respectful of the stance taken by the nation's leader."He's our president, so you can't say who he thinks should be No. 1," All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis said. "It's his hometown team, so he has every right to say that. We'll see when it's all said and done."One area in which Chicago clearly has an advantage through eight games is forcing turnovers. The 2012 Bears are the doing what the 49ers did with great success a year ago.The Bears lead the NFL with a plus-16 turnover margin.RELATED: NFL team leaders -- Defense
Cornerback Charles Tillman forced four fumbles Sunday in a blowout victory over the Tennessee Titans, and linebacker Brian Urlacher returned an interception for a touchdown -- the Bears' seventh interception return for a score through eight games."You can't take any credit away from Chicago of whoever guys are talking about," 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers said. "There are a lot of good defenses out there. Us, Houston, and look at the stuff Chicago is doing. They're setting history the way they're forcing turnovers and getting the ball out. They're doing a good job for their team of getting the ball back. When they go on defense, it's like another series of offense because they're taking the ball and scoring."A year ago, the 49ers forced 38 takeaways on defense and had a plus-28 turnover margin. The 49ers have forced 12 in eight games with six interception and six fumble recoveries.But the 49ers' defense has been no less successful.The 49ers rank No. 2 overall in defense in yards allowed behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Chicago is sixth. The 49ers also rank second in passing yards allowed per game at 184.0 yards, an improvement of 46.9 yards per game over a year.Scoring defense is where the 49ers have been exceptional. The 49ers held the New York Jets, Buffalo, Seattle and Arizona out of the end zone over this current five-game stretch."We haven't had the turnovers we had the previous year," Rogers said, "but we're doing a good job of getting off the field and eliminating yards and big plays and eliminating people getting into the end zone. As long as we keep doing what we're doing, we'll be fine."And the 49ers will have a good opportunity to shut down the Rams on Sunday, too. St. Louis ranks 28th in the league in total offense.

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