Lamar Jackson

Why 49ers' defense vs. mobile quarterbacks doesn't worry Donte Whitner

Why 49ers' defense vs. mobile quarterbacks doesn't worry Donte Whitner

While the 49ers possess one of the best defenses in the NFL, one thing gives their fans pause.

The mobile quarterback.

Kyler Murray. Russell Wilson and Lamar Jackson have given the 49ers (10-2) fits this season, and two of them have handed San Francisco its only losses of the season.

So, should there be any reason to worry for the 49ers as they finish the regular season and move into the playoffs?

"I don't have any concerns," analyst Donte Whitner told NBC Sports Bay Area on Sunday night. "If you watch how these guys perform against other football teams, they are doing a lot more damage than what they've done against the 49ers. The 49ers have done a decent job against mobile quarterbacks.

"You ask a lot of defenses in the National Football League, these mobile quarterbacks give them hell. So I think the 49ers are slowly adapting to the way they should rush these guys. You watched them today, they didn't go rogue or go renegade. These guys rushed as a unit to try to keep him in the pocket on throwing downs and for the most part, they did a really good job."

While the 49ers held Jackson to 105 passing yards, the former Heisman Trophy winner ran for 101 yards and a touchdown in the Ravens' 20-17 win.

But considering how Jackson had been tormenting other defenses, Whitner believes the 49ers did an excellent job against the Ravens quarterback.

"I think they did a great job on him," Whitner said. "I think they got a forced fumble off of him. They should have had an interception off of him with the play that Jimmie Ward made. I think they did a great job. He's been running through the league, so whatever they did, they held him below his averages."

The 49ers will see Wilson at least one more time this year, and they might have to get through the Seahawks quarterback again in the playoffs to get to Super Bowl LIV.

[RELATED: How Jackson used the play-action successfully]

And guess who could be waiting for them in Miami? Yep. Jackson.

So, the 49ers could have up to three more chances this season to prove Whitner right.

How Ravens QB Lamar Jackson used play action successfully vs. 49ers

How Ravens QB Lamar Jackson used play action successfully vs. 49ers

Coming into Sunday's battle in Baltimore, the Ravens had the best rushing offense in the NFL. That still is true, but the 49ers actually held the Ravens in check, despite losing 20-17

The Ravens, who average well over 200 rushing yards per game, ended with 178 on 38 carries. San Francisco's defense allowed only 4.7 yards per carry while its own offense had 174 yards rushing on 29 carries, good for a 6-yard average. 

But quarterback Lamar Jackson did gain 101 yards rushing on 16 carries and scored once on the ground. Jackson only had 105 passing yards, but the threat of he or running back Mark Ingram carrying the ball still hurt the 49ers. 

Jackson was significantly better passing with play-action Sunday as opposed to no play action, and his wide receivers gained much more separation against the 49ers' vaunted defense. 

Baltimore's only touchdown through the air came off play action, with Jackson hitting tight end Mark Andrews to tie it up 7-7 in the first quarter. 

[RELATED: Ravens will be ready for Super Bowl rematch with 49ers]

Any run-action from Jackson will keep a defense on its toes. The 49ers won't face another dual-threat QB until their rematch with Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, who they also lost to earlier in the year, when San Francisco goes to Seattle for the regular-season finale. 

But if the 49ers do face the Ravens in the Super Bowl as they hope, there will be plenty to digest from the film, especially with defending play action.

Why Jerry Rice didn't like 49ers' key fourth-down play in Ravens loss

Why Jerry Rice didn't like 49ers' key fourth-down play in Ravens loss

The 49ers have no reason to hang their heads after their last-second 20-17 loss to the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday.

Coach Kyle Shanahan's club went toe-to-toe with the hottest team in the NFL, but couldn't make the crucial plays necessary to win a slugfest at M&T Bank Stadium.

Shanahan had questionable clock management at the end of the first half, which might have cost the Niners much-needed points. Then, with the game tied in the fourth quarter, Shanahan went for a fourth-and-1 at the Ravens' 35-yard line. Instead of handing the ball off to get the yard, Shanahan had the 49ers go into the shotgun, and quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo's pass was batted down. The 49ers never saw the ball again.

49ers legend Jerry Rice was proud of the Niners' effort in Baltimore but took umbrage with the fourth-and-1 call.

"We got to find a way," Rice said Monday on 95.7 The Game's "Jo, Lo and Dibbs." "Fourth-and-1, you've got to give the ball to that running back. You've got to leave it up to that offensive line to get you one yard. That hurt us during this football game, and it also hurt us during the game against Seattle."

Shanahan always has been an aggressive play-caller, and Sunday was no different. The 49ers went for a fourth-and-2 on their first drive, and Garoppolo threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to rookie Deebo Samuel. On a fourth-and-1 in the third quarter, Shanahan once again dialed up a pass play and Ravens cornerback Marlon Humphrey was flagged for pass interference on Emmanuel Sanders.

Still, it was odd not to give Raheem Mostert the ball on that late fourth-and-1. Mostert had a career day up until that point, getting to the outside and forcing the Ravens secondary to make open-field tackles. It seems more than probable he would have gained a yard. 

It was an aggressive play call that backfired, but one that Shanahan likely would call again if given the chance.

[RELATED: Ravens will be ready for Super Bowl rematch with 49ers]

The 49ers now sit at 10-2 and need the Minnesota Vikings to beat the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night in order to maintain their hold on the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

Still, the Niners look like one of the elite teams in the NFL and will have another chance to prove it next week when they travel to New Orleans to face the 10-2 Saints.