49ers key matchup No. 3: Carlos Rogers vs. Wes Welker This is the first part in a series that spotlights three 49ers-Patriots matchups to watch Sunday, 5:20 p.m. (NBC), at Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
49ers CB Carlos Rogers vs. Patriots WR Wes Welker
Tale of the tape
Rogers (22): 6-foot, 192 pounds, eight season, Auburn
Welker (83): 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, ninth season, Texas Tech
Carlos Rogers has the greatest responsibility within the 49ers' defense. Covering the slot receiver is typically seen as the most difficult job for any defensive back. And that has been Rogers' role since arriving on the scene with the 49ers last season.
On Sunday night, he faces his most difficult challenge against one of the all-time best slot receivers in football.
Wes Welker has excelled as quarterback Tom Brady's most dangerous weapon because his short-area quickness allows him to get open quickly on throws in which Brady must get rid of the ball quickly.
Welker ranks third in the NFL with 95 catches for 1,116 yards and four touchdowns. He is closing in on becoming the first player in NFL history with five seasons of 100 or more receptions.
Welker averages nearly 40 plays a game from the slot position. And he can expect to look across the line at Rogers nearly every time he's there.
After facing the New York Giants' Victor Cruz, St. Louis' Danny Amendola and Green Bay's Randall Cobb this season, Rogers faces his biggest test. Brady is playing at an all-time best level with 29 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Brady has averaged 294.8 yards passing per game with a passer rating of 104.2.
"There is no one way to defend Brady, which to me is the definition of a great quarterback," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "Do you want to pressure him some? Yeah. Do you want to cover him some? Yes. Do you want to rush three? Yes. Do you want to rush five, six? Yes.
"You've got to do a little bit of everything, man, zone, because he's really good."
To read more about this matchup, check out Kevin Kurz's report, "Welker poses immense challenge for Rogers."