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Arizona Cardinals

Cardinals' DC Bowles: Niners will be ‘tough task'

The San Francisco 49ers finished seventh in total offense among NFC teams last season, featuring a versatile arsenal of weapons.

This season, however, only the St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals are accruing less yards per game than the 49ers, who have gone without star wide receiver Michael Crabtree all season.

Nonetheless, Cardinals' defensive coordinator Todd Bowles knows his Sunday opponent will pose a challenge. The 49ers bring a host of challenges to the contest, like a dual-threat quarterback in Colin Kaepernick, a physical offensive line, a powerful running back in Frank Gore and two major matchup problems in tight end Vernon Davis and former Cardinals receiver Anquan Boldin.

"They got big offensive linemen, they got a tough running back" Bowles said Thursday.

"It's going to be a tough task."

Among NFC teams, only the Philadelphia Eagles, Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers gain more yards on the ground than the 49ers, who rank sixth in the NFL in rushing. Kaepernick and Gore have combined for 530 yards through the team's first five games, averaging 5.7 and 4.8 yards per carry, respectively.

"And it's not just the run," Bowles said. "They do certain things well in the passing game. They've got good receivers that we've got to stop."

So far, however, San Francisco has been fairly lackluster with their passing attack. League-wide, only the Buccaneers have passed for fewer yards per game. Kaepernick has thrown four interceptions, and just six touchdowns, while taking 11 sacks on the year. His accuracy has fallen off as well, dropping from 62.4% in 2012 to 56.1% so far this season.

But Bowles isn't overlooking any part of the 49ers offense.

"It's one of the best all-around teams we'll play this year," he said.

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