A major reason for the 49ers' success is the strength of the defense, led by coordinator Vic Fangio. The 49ers have not allowed a rushing touchdown all season, and have gone 34 consecutive games without allowing an opposing running back 100 yards rushing.
This unit has several stars who are becoming well known for their outstanding play. These include Pro Bowlers Patrick Willis and Justin Smith. In addition, defensive back Carlos Rogers and linebacker NaVorro Bowman have been getting a lot of positive press.
Rookie Aldon Smith, the 49ers' first round draft pick, has also garnered a lot of attention. Smith leads the 49ers with 9.5 sacks for the 2011 season.
No defensive unit can be successful without the entire group working together. It's more than just the stars, but the role players who also must play solid football.
Let's take a look at some of these unsung heroes on the 49ers' defense.