No. 5: Zero Outside Pass Rush from the 49ers
One could argue EDGE Cassius Marsh had his best game of the season, especially after registering three tackles, a quarterback hit and two tackles for a loss. And his pressure in the first quarter forced Josh Rosen to make an intentional-grounding pass within the Cardinals’ own end zone.
That gave the Niners two points and put San Francisco on the scoreboard first.
But Marsh isn’t an every-down pass-rusher. And his best games are nowhere close to the kind of regular production defensive coordinator Robert Saleh needs off the edge.
On one hand, it worked for Saleh to place defensive end Solomon Thomas on the inside for most of the game — a move the 49ers should have made a long time ago.
Yet there are still zero answers from the outside pass-rushing spots. And nowhere was this more apparent than on Arizona’s two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Just look at how clear the pocket is around Rosen on the Cardinals’ go-ahead touchdown:
But none from the edge. And that has to be San Francisco’s top need this upcoming offseason. The rest of Saleh’s defense is suffering as a result.