SANTA CLARA -- How is it that the 49ers are so bad in the red zone and they're still NFC West champions with a 10-3 record?As bad as they are on offense, they've been that good on defense. The 49ers own the league's best red-zone defense."We've done a good job of playing the run," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Most good red-zone offenses start with a good running game and we've been able to play the run down there well. And then when it comes time to pass, we've done a good job with covering up the receivers and getting some good rush. It's just a combination of good players doing the right thing."The 49ers' defense inside the opponent's 20-yard line is the major reason the 49ers left Philadelphia with a 24-23 victory on Oct. 2. The Eagles got inside the 20-yard line seven times and came away with only two touchdowns. The run defense has led the way, allowing just 1.99 yards per rushing attempt in the red zone. The 49ers are the first team since the 1920 Decatur Staleys to not allow a rushing touchdown in the first 13 games of a season.The 49ers have allowed the opposition to enter their own 20-yard line just 28 times. The defense has given up just 10 touchdowns for a league-best defensive percentage of 35.7. Opponents have settled for 13 field goals.Most of the attention has gone to the 49ers' failures inside the red zone. And that's where the 49ers turned a lot of their own attention this week as they prepare to face the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night. On a typical week, the 49ers spend time in two practices on their red-zone game plan. This week, they spent three days working on it, 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said.No team in the NFL is worse than the 49ers inside the opponents' 20-yard line. The 49ers have gotten into the red zone 45 times. They've scored just 16 touchdowns -- for a lowly 35.6 percentage. (The league average is 52 percent.) But with 25 field goals, the 49ers have actually scored 91.1 percent of the time they get that far. That's tied for fifth-best in the league.Some might wonder if the 49ers' offense works against the 49ers' defense during practice. The answer is no. Once the regular season begins, the first-team offense does not go up against the first-team defense. Coaches have determined it is much more beneficial to prepare for the upcoming opponent with "scout" teams comprised of backups and practice-squad players that try to replicate what the opposition will try to do.
SANTA CLARA – Left tackle Joe Staley, who has not missed a game since 2010, did not practice Thursday due to a hamstring injury.
The 49ers’ five-time Pro Bowl performer has the third-longest active streak among offensive tackles with 92 consecutive starts. Only Cleveland's Joe Thomas (156) and Oakland's Donald Penn (152) have started more consecutive games.
Staley’s availability for Sunday’s game against the New York Jets at Levi’s Stadium is in question after he was held out of practice on Thursday after going through the full workload on Wednesday.
If Staley is unable to play, the 49ers would likely move left guard Zane Beadles to left tackle and insert Andrew Tiller at left guard. Tiller started the first five games of the season at right guard before rookie Joshua Garnett took over.
49ERS PARTICIPATION REPORT
Did not practice
T Joe Staley (hamstring)
DT Quinton Dial (elbow)
DT Glenn Dorsey (knee)
RB Shaun Draughn (ribs)
LB Eli Harold (toe)
LB Aaron Lynch (ankle)
DT Ronald Blair (hamstring)
C Daniel Kilgore (hamstring)
JETS PARTICIPATION REPORT
Did not practice
S Antonio Allen (concussion)
T Breno Giacomini (back, calf, shoulder)
WR Jalin Marshall (concussion)
DT Steve McLendon (hamstring)
RB Khiry Robinson (lower leg)
LB Lorenzo Mauldin (ankle)
S Calvin Pryor (concussion)
DE Muhammad Wilkerson (ankle)
RB Matt Forte (knee, foot)
WR Brandon Marshall (knee, foot)
CB Nick Marshall (ankle)
DE Leonard Williams (illness)
CB Marcus Williams (ankle)
Wednesday was the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Although he didn't call out Colin Kaepernick by name, Admiral Harry B. Harris gave a speech that included a message intended for a certain group of athletes and/or entertainers.
“You can bet that the men and women we honor today, and those who died that fateful morning 75 years ago, never took a knee and never failed to stand whenever they heard our national anthem being played."
Many of those in attendance gave the Admiral a standing ovation.
During the preseason, Kaepernick remained seated on the 49ers' team bench during the national anthem.
After sparking a national controversy, Kaepernick began kneeling as opposed to sitting.
After the 49ers' loss to the Bears on Sunday, Kaepernick said he will continue his demonstration moving forward.
"Today we have a precious opportunity to reflect -- to reflect on what it means to be a patriot, to reflect on what it means to be a nation tested by war, and to reflect on both the costs and the blessings of liberty," Admiral Harris added. "To America's World War II patriots here and watching at home -- we will never forget your courage under considerable fire and seemingly insurmountable odds.
"Because of you, our future remains bright. We owe you an immeasurable debt and we can't thank you enough for answering the call of duty when Lady Liberty needed it the most."