The 49ers face the NFL's top rushing offense on Christmas night, and their top objective this week is to tackle their biggest issue on defense.
General manager John Lynch, appearing Tuesday on KNBR’s "Murph & Markus," acknowledged the 49ers have to do a better job of tackling when the Baltimore Ravens come to town.
“We come at people and we play aggressively,” Lynch said, “but we always play intelligently and to our help, to our leverage. The last three weeks we’ve gotten a little out of whack in terms of that.”
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The 49ers have missed 42 tackles over the past three games, according to Pro Football Focus. They missed 16 tackles on Sunday, as the Arizona Cardinals rushed for 234 yards in the 49ers’ 45-29 division-clinching victory.
Linebacker Fred Warner, who is having the best season of any 49ers defensive player, missed six tackles in the past three games. Defensive lineman Randy Gregory missed a team-worst seven tackles during that span.
“I think league-wide tackling probably suffers this time of year,” Lynch said. “We’ve never really succumbed to that. We certainly did the other day.
“The good news is we have the personnel that is very capable of being very good tacklers. I think we just got to get back, and sometimes it just takes getting punched in the mouth and having a performance like that to really drill in how critical and important it is.”
San Francisco 49ers
The 49ers face a tall order on Monday night in a matchup pitting teams that currently rank No. 1 in the NFC and the AFC. The 49ers and Ravens are tied with the best records in the NFL at 11-3.
In addition, the Ravens own the No. 1 ground attack in the NFL with 2,293 yards rushing on the season.
Quarterback Lamar Jackson leads the way with 741 yards, followed by running back Gus Edwards’ 663 yards and 11 touchdowns.
“We got to clean it up,” Lynch said. “We’re playing against a really good team in Baltimore, and that’s something that’s been a hallmark of what we do, being a sure-tackling team. And we do it by getting multiple people to the ball.
“We got to certainly improve, and I expect us to, because that’s not who we are and that’s not who we want to be.”