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Sack slump has defense sinking

The 49ers are looking for a pass rush again after the recent disappearance of what once was a prominent push from their defensive front four. Now the Niners have just one sack to show for their past three games - a gift sack, at that - and it's no coincidence their defense has struggled mightily during that span, sinking like a rock in the NFL rankings while opponents pass on them at will.

At midseason, the Niners had unquestionably one of the most improved pass rushes in the NFL, and it played a prominent role in their 7-2 start. But that's starting time seem like a long time ago now. San Francisco's recent sack slump has dropped the Niners to 23rd in the league in sacks per play. A month ago, the 49ers ranked eighth in that category after finishing the 2001 season ranked 27th...

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