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On the Phone with Tomlin and Mendenhall

Posted by Alex Espinoza on December 14, 2011 – 4:17 PM

When the 49ers and Pittsburgh Steelers do battle on Monday night at Candlestick Park, two of the league’s top defenses will be showcased.

The Steelers have perennially featured one of the NFL’s most vaunted defensive units and the 49ers have joined that conversation this year under new coach Jim Harbaugh and his staff, which includes defensive coordinator Vic Fangio.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin told Bay Area reporters that he’s been impressed with the way Harbaugh has been able to have such a dramatic impact on the 49ers in such a short time.

“The statistics speak for themselves,” Tomlin said in Wednesday’s conference call. “They’re first in the league versus the run, they haven’t given up a touchdown this year on the ground, they’re first in the NFL in red zone defense, they’re first in the league in turnover margin. They’re a tough nut to crack and we expect that.”

Running back Rashard Mendenhall is the latest candidate to have an opportunity to snap some of San Francisco’s impressive streaks. No individual runner has posted a 100-yard game against the 49ers in 35 contests. And as Tomlin pointed out, no one has scored a rushing touchdown against Fangio’s unit all season.

“We want to do that every week,” Mendenhall said. “No different. It’s a tougher defense and a tougher challenge, but we put that on ourselves to do every week.”

Mendenhall said he hasn’t seen much of a drop-off in the 49ers defense since it has been without captain Patrick Willis for most of the past two contests. He also offered some kind words for linebacker NaVorro Bowman, while saying there isn’t anything flashy behind the success of the 49ers defense.

“They’re just playing good ball, solid ball,” Mendenhall said. “They’re playing together and everybody’s in the right place and they’re making plays. Put those things together and you’re going to have a defense that’s playing well.”

The 49ers will likely have to wait until the end of the week to find out who will be under center for the Steelers on Monday night. Starter Ben Roethlisberger suffered a high ankle sprain last Thursday in Cleveland and did not practice on Wednesday.

“I guess I have to characterize him right now as questionable,” Tomlin said. “We’re kind of taking it day-to-day. He’s not going to do anything but rehab. Of course, a veteran guy like him – he can be ready to play on a limited number of snaps.”

Click here to listen to Tomlin’s conference call

Click here to listen to Mendenhall’s conference call


Posted in Announcements | 11 Comments »


11 Responses to “On the Phone with Tomlin and Mendenhall”

  1. By JOHN PEREZ on Dec 17, 2011 | Reply

    I’M PART OF NINER NATION AND I DONT CARE WHAT MIKE TOMLIN HAS TO SAY ALL I GOT TO SAY IS GET READY BECAUSE HERE WE COME .

    FROM YOURS TRULY: YOUR NEXT OPPONENTS SAN FRAN. 49ERS BABY.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. By JR BACA, NEW MEXICO SAN FRANCISCO 49ER on Dec 17, 2011 | Reply

    OUR OFFENSE IN THE REDZONE REALLY NEEDS TO IMPROVE, HOW ABOUT REMOVING EDWARDS WHO REALLY HASN’T DONE ANYTHING FOR OUR TEAM BUT DROP THE BALL OR IS NOT ON THE SAME PAGE WITH ALEX. HAVE BRETT SWAIN TAKE HIS PLACE. “MY OPINION”.

    GO 49ERS>>>>>>>

  3. By Tarcules on Dec 17, 2011 | Reply

    Eone knows we have RB up the middle in the REDZONE, I say line up big guys up as RB another FB (like the FRIG/ Chicago Bears back in the day) thats my 7points worth, Go Niners!

  4. By Tarcules on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    KC Orton beats Greenbay!! KC 4 times in REDZONE with FGs! Orton uses playaction all day and Packers bite/lose! Niners win to Steelers/ Greenbay looses Home field advantage! GO NINERS!!!

  5. By JR BACA, NEW MEXICO SAN FRANCISCO 49ER on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    PRAISE THE LORD, GREEN BAY FINALLY LOST A GAME.

    LETS BEAT THOSE STEELERS TOMORROW NIGHT AND BECOME 11 AND 3

    LETS GO 49ERS>>>>>>>KEEP IT ROLLING>>>>>>>YOU CAN DO IT, WE HAVE FAITH IN YOU!!!!!!!

    AMEN!

  6. By Hermie on Dec 18, 2011 | Reply

    Wouldn’t that be sweet if GB looses out and 9ers win out to get home field throughout. If the 9ers can pull off the win tomorrow night anything could happen…not probable, but possible. Afraid Bears will go into hibernation next week. Goes to show that anything is possible, but a lose to Pitt. would put them in 3rd place and playing the first week of the playoffs. A lot on the line tomorrow night!!

  7. By rjdniner on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    JR BACA AND TARCULES , EVERY BODY BETTING AGINST USE ,
    I HOP JOE AND PATRICK ARE ABLE TO GO. IF THERE NOT WELL
    BOONE AND GRANT WILL STEP UP
    GO NINERS

  8. By JR BACA, NEW MEXICO SAN FRANCISCO 49ER on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    I HAVE A GOOD FEELING ABOUT THIS GAME

    GO 49ERS

  9. By sdkota9er on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    hey JR i’m right there with u!! huge GAME!!! HUGE!! as a player these guys have to feel good abou the unbeatable packers going down!! every NFC team has been playing for second place until Chiefs beat them…..especially with the Packers losing their 2 top right gaurds…….new found confindence in this team and season….we will win tonight!!! and in the words of the great #16…”we will kick a$$ and takes names”!! the rest of the season and throughout the playoffs!!

    go 49ers!!!

  10. By rjdniner on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    I JUST SAW WERE STALY AS BEEN CLEAR TO PLAY
    GEART NEWS ,
    WISH LIKE HELL I COULD BE THERE..

  11. By JR BACA, NEW MEXICO SAN FRANCISCO 49ER on Dec 19, 2011 | Reply

    I agree sdkota9er, we have an opportunity to go all the way, I sure hope we do!

    Go 49ers>>>>>>> WE BELIEVE IN YOU BECAUSE KNOW-ONE HAS IT BETTER THEN US FANS, YOU HAVE GIVEN US AN AWESOME SEASON

    A BIG THANK YOU FROM NINER NATION

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