Dee Ford of the 49ers on Kyler Murray of the Cardinals: “He can dice you”

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SANTA CLARA – Dee Ford, in just 12 shots, recorded two sacks on Sunday. This is an ideal ratio for him. What wasn’t so great was the end result: a loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

The 49ers need more of Ford’s production and overall presence this Sunday when they next visit the undefeated Arizona Cardinals and emerging MVP candidate Kyler Murray.

“Kyler Murray is definitely a special talent, man, but any quarterback can be humiliated when you hit him,” Ford said Tuesday morning on KNBR 680-AM.

The 49ers (2-2) were themselves humiliated after back-to-back home losses, their defensive pressure subsiding against Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks.

Ford’s two sacks – his one-game high since joining the 49ers in 2019 – came on third and long saves on the Seahawks’ second and fourth possessions.

Ford, and the 49ers’ pass rush, then faded from the spotlight. Check that Ford actually reappeared in a third game in the fourth quarter, when he was ruled offside for the third time this season. The Seahawks then scored their final touchdown in their 28-21 win.

Ford said he was “man enough to own it,” which he did after his most infamous offside call that foiled the Kansas City Chiefs’ AFC title bid in 2018 against the New England.

What’s relevant now is how he can help stop Murray and the Cardinals.

Two years ago, Ford had one of the 49ers’ three sacks over Murray in a Halloween night win, after which DeForest Buckner called the elusive quarterback a “little squirrel out there.” Recalled this Wednesday by KNBR host Brian Murphy, Ford replied, “He’s a little squirrel. It’s very fast, very explosive, and if you blink once it’s a first try when it comes out of the pocket.

“And he can dice you.” We just have to be smart to move forward. No freebies at the end of the day, especially against really good teams and infractions like that.

Murray is 1-3 against the 49ers and has been sacked 12 times in those games. But the top pick in the 2019 Draft is lighting up the NFL this season. He leads the NFL with a 76.1 completion percentage (including a best 16 NFL completion on 25 yards). He produced 12 touchdowns (nine assists, three rushing) and his 1,273 passing yards rank third behind Derek Carr and Tom Brady.

“They’re getting windy right now. They feel confident, ”Ford said of the Cardinals.

Murray has been sacked eight times this season, but that clearly hasn’t slowed him down much.

Whether the 49ers get production or Ford shots is kind of a bonus. After Murray and the Cardinals beat the 49ers in the 2020 opener, Ford left the remainder of the season with a chronic back problem that required constant treatment. He has appeared cautiously in good health since training camp and his role has been limited to that of a third-down specialist.

“I don’t know if I’m ever going to feel what I want to feel,” Ford said after Sunday’s loss. “I felt good enough to do a job, so we just keep piling up from here.”

By the way, Ford also sacked Murray in a home win in November 2019. This season Ford has three sacks in total (tied with Nick Bosa for the team lead) while playing 29% of the sacks in total. defensive snaps (78).

“In a nutshell, on defense we just need to be better in the first and second downs to allow more opportunities in the third and long,” added Ford. “This is our MO. We want to be great on the first and second downs.

If the 49ers want to have great defense like their 2019 version, it will take more work from Ford, Bosa and everyone else, regardless of the descent and distance.

“I love the way they started,” coach Kyle Shanahan said of the defense on Monday. “… Every time they entered the red zone, that’s when we struggled the most. We gave up four times there in the red zone and that’s where we were able to improve a lot.