On Sunday, the Carolina Panthers come to Candlestick to play the 49ers for the first time since 2004. Fresh off four straight victories, the Panthers present a stern challenge for a 49ers team that has feasted on a five game stretch comprised of opponents with a combined record of 13-28.
Featuring the leagues best defense, in points allowed, the Panthers are one of the few teams that have the personnel to match the 49ers in the trenches. Stud defensive linemen like Charles Johnson, Star Lotulelei and Kewann Short wreak havoc at the line scrimmage allowing Pro Bowl MLB Luke Kuechly to seek and destroy ball carriers, presenting a challenge for the 49ers rushing attack.
With such a talented front seven, the 49ers must attack the Panthers few weaknesses in the run game in order to find any success offensively. While the defensive front is extremely physical and large, the linebackers behind them, Kuechly and Davis, sacrifice size for speed, something the 49ers could target. Let’s look at how the Buccaneers had found some success by attacking the smaller linebackers of the Panthers two weeks ago.