Despite their impressive defensive statistics, the 49ers avoided most of the NFL’s best tailbacks.
The 49ers allowed an average of 77.7 rushing yards per game during the 2022 NFL regular season, the second-best showing in the entire NFL. The Eagles rushed for an average of 147.6 rushing yards per game. It doesn’t take a quick math study to see that’s double what the 49ers are used to allowing and that this is the classic strength versus strength matchup.
The 49ers didn’t see many of the league’s top rushers during their march through the regular season. They only played four of the 15 players that ran for 1,000 yards or more. San Francisco also avoided seven of the eight rushers with 250 carries or more. In other words, they didn’t play most of the league’s premier running backs. They’ll do so in the NFC Championship Game as they get an extended look at Pro Bowler Miles Sanders.
Now, that isn’t to say their numbers are hollow. This is a gifted unit in the area of rushing defense. Las Vegas Raiders star Josh Jacobs was the lone tailback that San Francisco faced who wound up toting the rock more than 250 times this season. He was held in check by the standards we use to measure Jacobs.
Sure, he notched 69 yards and a touchdown which is reasonably impressive. He did so on 17 carries, which is obviously four yards per tote, but while that would be the highest individual rushing total posted versus the 49ers all season, San Francisco still earned the win. We’ll tell you this though. If the Eagles are averaging four yards per carry versus San Francisco late in the fourth quarter, you have to feel good about their chances of earning a win on Sunday. .