San Francisco 49ers

49ers on pace for lowest sack count in a decade

San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith (94) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014.
San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith (94) sacks Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the third quarter of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday, Nov. 27, 2014. AP

SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers are on pace for 28 sacks this season, which would be their lowest output in a decade. Aldon Smith's ouster in August is an obvious reason for the decline. At one point, Smith was one of the most talented pass rushers in the league, and he had 33 1/2 sacks in his first two seasons with San Francisco.

A bigger factor, however, may be the lack of sack production from the 49ers' defensive linemen. That group has combined for three sacks, one each by Arik Armstead, Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial. Last year, the team's defensive linemen combined for 14 of the team's 36 sacks.

The 49ers' former defensive linemen, particularly Justin Smith and Ray McDonald, also likely helped their teammates pad their sack numbers. Aldon Smith, for instance, never recorded a sack in games that Justin Smith missed or played injured. Brooks, who played next to McDonald, is on pace to finish with his lowest sack total since he became a starter for San Francisco in 2011.

The lone bright spot is second-year player Aaron Lynch, whose six sacks leads the team and is tied for 10th in the league. Aside from Lynch and Brooks, NaVorro Bowman is the only other 49er with more than one sack. He has two.

One interesting note: The 49ers highest sack total in the last 10 years did not come while Aldon Smith was on the roster. It came in 2009 when no one on the team had more than 6 1/2 sacks (Manny Lawson) but nine different players had two or more sacks.

49ers sacks, sack leaders

2015: 16, Aaron Lynch 6

2014: 36, Ahmad Brooks 6, Aaron Lynch 6

2013: 38, Ahmad Brooks 8.5, Aldon Smith 8.5

2012: 38, Aldon Smith, 19.5

2011: 42, Aldon Smith, 14

2010: 36, Justin Smith 8.5

2009: 44, Manny Lawson 6.

2008: 30, Parys Haralson, 8

2007: 31, Bryant Young, 6.5

2006: 34, Brandon Moore, 6.5

2005: 28, Bryant Young, 8

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows, read more about the team at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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