No. 3: 49ers must stack the box, double Colts WR Michael Pittman
The last time Colts quarterback Carson Wentz faced off against the 49ers, albeit a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, he was already one of the league leaders in interceptions thrown.
Now, Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich has Wentz cutting down on the turnovers, having thrown only one in six games this season. And with rainy weather forecasted for Sunday, it’s likely the Colts are going to rely less on Wentz’s arm and more on running back Jonathan Taylor, who is coming off an impressive two-touchdown, 145-yard game last week against the lowly Houston Texans.
The Niners are already allowing 4.3 yards per carry this season, which ranks 16th, but the focal point for this contest needs to be stopping Taylor and Indy’s run game.
More defenders up towards the line of scrimmage, less opportunities for Taylor to get deeper into the second level.
On passing downs, though, San Francisco would be wise to focus its defensive efforts on Wentz’s favorite target this season, wide receiver Michael Pittman Jr., who leads all Colts pass-catchers with 31 receptions and 403 yards.
Yes, Wentz has done well enough distributing the ball to other targets. But considering the rain and wind will dampen those efforts, it’s simply a best practice to try and eliminate the No. 1 threat through the air by assigning multiple defenders on him.