SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers on Sunday surrendered six passes to the Pittsburgh Steelers that totaled 267 of Ben Roethlisberger’s 369 yards passing.
Next up for the 49ers is an Arizona Cardinals offense that thrives on going deep with quarterback Carson Palmer at the controls. But Palmer does not expect to see the same flaws in the 49ers’ defense this week that made them susceptible to big plays in Pittsburgh.
Palmer said he saw the 49ers' defense making correctable mistakes that 49ers defensive coordinator Eric Mangini will likely have tidied up in time for Sunday’s NFC West test in Glendale, Arizona.
“I think they had a couple of issues with some alignment stuff and snap counts that got them a little out of position on some plays in Pittsburgh,” Palmer said on a conference call with Bay Area media. “And, unfortunately, they gave up a couple of big plays. But we’re not expecting that to happen.”
Two of the issues in the 49ers’ pass defense occurred when free safety Eric Reid tried to disguise his cover-2 assignment. He was near the line of scrimmage, attempting to trick Roethlisberger into thinking he was blitzing.
But Reid waited too long to bail out and get back into his responsibility of covering the deep right half of the field with cornerback Kenneth Acker in a trail position. One of the plays resulted in a 59-yard pass to wide receiver Antonio Brown.
Palmer said he does not expect a repeat of the 49ers' mistakes from their 43-18 loss to the Steelers.
“Very much so,” he said. “Just kind of some bluffing when the ball got snapped and they got a little bit out of position. Unfortunately, that can happen. We don’t expect to see that, really, again. Those are mistakes that they will clean up.
“You go back and everybody has a game like that where you’re just off just a little bit and they happened to exploit those plays where you’re off just a little bit. Every team has those kinds of games during in the season. We don’t expect that kind of offensive performance. We got to play phenomenal football."
The Cardinals (2-0) are the only unbeaten team in the NFC West through two weeks. The 49ers are 1-1, entering the first of their six games against division opponents. The 49ers have won 10 of the past 12 meetings between the teams.
“It’s a big rivalry for us," Palmer said. "We’ve been watching them play in the playoffs for a number of years, and we realize how good this football team is, and you can’t go off one last game film. You got off of history of players and how good they looked that Monday night opener against Minnesota, so we realize how big this task is and how difficult this is going to be.”