SANTA CLARA No team in the NFL gives up sacks at the rate of the Green Bay Packers. And only three defenses get to the quarterback with less frequency than the 49ers.
The pressure will be on the 49ers defense Sunday to apply pressure to Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, the leagues fourth-rated passer who has been sacked a league-high 41 times in nine games.
I look at him and see a shifty quarterback who can run, 49ers outside linebacker Manny Lawson said Wednesday. He holds the ball a little. We just have to hurry up and get to him.
Hes holding the ball for a reason, because a plays about to open up downfield. Hes an unselfish player. Hes rather take the hit than somebody else.
The 49ers have 17 sacks in nine games. Eleven players have contributed to the total. The bulk of the 49ers pass rush is designed to come from outside linebacker, but those players Lawson and Parys Haralson have combined for 3 sacks.
Lawson, a fourth-year pro, is in his first season of remaining on the field as a pass-rusher on third downs. He has 2 sacks. Haralson, who led the 49ers with eight sacks last season, has just one sack.
The 49ers are tied for 26th in the league in sacks, and they rank 30th in sacks per pass play.
Whenever you talk about making strides, you look at numbers, Lawson said. We all want more sacks. I think we can get more. When the opportunity presents itself, we have to take advantage of it.
The 49ers should get that opportunity Sunday, as the Packers have had difficulty with protection from an offensive line plagued by injuries. Green Bay is lucky its quarterback has remained healthy.
Rodgers said the pounding he has endured has not yet taken a toll on his body.
I have a good massage therapist, he said.
The 49ers defense is coming off a game in which it failed to sack Bears quarterback Jay Cutler. But nobody is complaining because the 49ers intercepted five passes and kept the Bears out of the end zone in a 10-6 victory.