As a division, the NFC West rarely gets much love. Most of the time they are looked at as bottom dwellers of the football world.
Every few years it seems like one of the four teams will go through a spurt where they dominate and make a run through the playoffs. But that window of success never really seems to last all that long.
Currently, the 49ers are the hot team everyone is talking about. They enjoyed surprise success in 2011 as no one really expected a 13-3 season. Everyone always knew they had the talent on their roster to make a push, but for whatever reason they never could seem to put it all together.
One of the biggest reasons behind the teams turnaround was their high level of defensive play. Every starter seemed to make an impact in a big way; they had very few players who consistently graded out in a negative manner as the season went on.
According to Pro Football Focus, San Francisco finished as the second best pass rushing team in the NFL based on sacks, quarterback hits and hurries.
As one watches, it becomes transparent as to why they are so successful at rushing the passer. They have dominant interior lineman who work hand in hand with the outstanding edge rushers.
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