San Francisco's recent pass rush woes were magnified last week in Carolina, where the Niners failed to record a sack against a team that had allowed at least one sack in 70 consecutive games.
That sackless performance dropped the Niners to 31st - dead last - in the NFL in sacks this week. They'll definitely be working to improve on that against Indianapolis and its second-ranked offense.
"We have to get to the quarterback," 49ers coach Steve Mariucci said Wednesday. "Peyton Manning's the real deal. He can throw the ball, his arm is as good as anybody's in the league. He can spray it around the field. He's got the quick release, he's got the smarts. We've got to pressure him."
The Niners have only 12 sacks this season, their lowest total after nine games in the past 20 years and well of the NFL average of 22.6. Just eight of those sacks have come from their starting defensive front four. Tackle Bryant Young had two sacks against Atlanta in the season opener and hasn't had another since. Tackle Dana Stubblefield and ends Andre Carter and John Engelberger also have two sacks each.
"We're definitely trying to improve on that," Young said. "Getting to the quarterback is important to us as it is to any defense in the league. We probably have to put a little bit more focus on that." Particularly this week.
The Colts average 249.4 yards passing a game, and Manning has been sacked 19 times. "We're not going to totally emphasize the pass rush this week, but it's going to be more important," Stubblefield said. "It's going to be one of the highlights of us as far as a defensive line, because that's an area where we need to definitely improve on. We're going to try to take it to another level."