All year, the 49ers have boasted that they have the best defense in the NFL. Then they gave up 19 unanswered points to the pathetic Chicago Bears during one of the most embarrassing losses of Week 1.
So is the 49ers defense where it needs to be?
Clearly not. But it's closer than you might think.
The 49ers definitely have potential to be phenomenal on defense, but they commit too many penalties. Against the Bears, the 49ers committed a whopping six defensive penalties, and three of them came on third down and extended drives that ended in touchdowns for the Bears. Without all those dumb penalties, the Bears never would have scored. Meaning the 49ers should have shut them out.
The 49ers defense is better and more talented that just about every offense it will face. That means the 49ers defense needs to stop giving away yards for free. Last season, the 49ers led the NFL in defensive penalty yards with 673 -- 100 more than the next team. This has been an issue since Robert Saleh left and DeMeco Ryans became the defensive coordinator.
And it's not just young players making costly mistakes on defense -- it's veterans and captains as well. It's everyone.
But the 49ers defense is too good and too proud to play undisciplined two weeks in a row. I expect this Sunday they'll make Geno Smith look like the Geno Smith we all know, not the Geno Smith who looked good in a win over the Broncos. Which means I expect the 49ers to sack Smith lots and lots of times, shut down the Seahawks running game and not beat itself with penalties.
I expect Ryans will have his defense focused and ready to go.