Loser: EDGE Dee Ford
It’s hard to lump EDGE Dee Ford into this mix, especially after he’s registered an impressive 6.5 sacks already this season.
But Ford, who missed Week 13 with a hamstring injury, re-aggravated it in New Orleans. And the 49ers sorely missed his presence within the pass rush, failing to get to Drew Brees for a sack aside from one nullified by a penalty against San Francisco.
Aided by Brees’ abilities to get the ball out quickly, the 49ers’ lack of a good pass rush was a prime reason why New Orleans was able to put up points so easily, even when Ford was on the field early.
Yet the bigger story for Ford is the fact he has appeared in just 222 defensive snaps prior to Week 14, which accounts for only 29.8 percent of such snaps. He has been effective during that limited action, yes. But it’s hard to get around the fact his impact hasn’t been totally felt.
One can only wonder just how much more potent the Niners defense would be this season with a fully healthy Ford, who could possibly miss more time after being removed in Week 14.