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Stingy 49ers defense holds four of five opponent without a TD

The SportsXchange

Scoring touchdowns against the San Francisco 49ers is proving to be one of the NFL's toughest tasks this season.

The 49ers (6-2) have won four of their past five games, and they haven't allowed a touchdown in any of the victories during that span.

"That's really impressive, really hard to do in this league," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Everybody's playing really good team defense. ... They're accomplishing some great things."

The lone exception to the opponents' touchdown-free spree -- and the 49ers' lone loss in that span -- was a 26-3 defeat against the New York Giants on Oct. 14.

The latest dominant defensive effort came Monday night in Arizona, where San Francisco won 24-3. The 49ers held the Cardinals to 7 rushing yards on nine carries. The total tied the 49ers' record for fewest rushing yards allowed in a single game.

The 49ers also rattled Cardinals quarterback John Skelton, sacking him four times and hitting him repeatedly.

Players credited the coaches for their success not only in the Arizona game, but all season.

"I honestly believe we have the best defensive coordinator in the National Football League," strong safety Donte Whitner said of Vic Fangio. "He's a smart guy, very prepared, and that's why we played the way we played."

Linebacker Patrick Willis went a step further.

"You could almost not watch the film, go off the report that they give you and come out and play a game," Willis said.

The 49ers won't play another game until Nov. 11, when they return from a bye week to face the St. Louis Rams.

The San Francisco players will get six days off because of a deal struck by Harbaugh. The league mandates a minimum of four days off during the bye week, and Harbaugh promised the team three weeks ago that he would add an extra day off for every win. Following the loss to the Giants, the 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks and the Cardinals.

"We're going to take a small breath right now, and then trust that we'll do the right thing over the break," Harbaugh said. "Guys will continue to work out, and we'll get back to work next week."
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