Sure, the 24-9 victory over the Rams on Monday Night Football probably helped ease the pain, but Arik Armstead didn’t sound too concerned about the long-term prognosis of his sore foot.
Plantar fasciitis, or inflammation of the heel, sidelined the key 49ers defensive tackle in Week 3 and he had to exit midway through the fourth quarter of Monday night’s contest. Good thing for him and the Niners, safety Talanoa Hufanga returned a pick-six 52 yards to the house just minutes after Armstead was declared out.
“Obviously, Huf made the game-changing play to put us over the top,” Armstead said. “But really proud of everyone. I was a must-win for us and we got the job done.”
Armstead also gave reporters a brief, but positive update on the status of his foot injury, which he called a “lingering” issue. Sean Cunningham of FOX40 in Sacramento shared Armstead’s postgame reaction from the locker room.
“It never stopped hurting, but I’ll be all right,” Armstead said.
Asked if he would be able to play in Week 5 on the road against the Carolina Panthers, Armstead said, “I don’t know. We’ll see. I should be straight, though.”
It sounds like this could be an issue of pain tolerance for Armstead at this point. Every player is dealing with dings, but the 49ers will probably try to manage this situation rather than overcome the injury, at least for the coming weeks.
The depth of the 49ers d-line has been tested lately, but they’ve continued to wreck shop. Despite a sub-100 percent Armstead and the absence of hulking tackle Javon Kinlaw, who tested out his chronically sore knee before the game, but couldn’t play.
Still, the 49ers defensive front dominated, racking up seven sacks, including one by backup tackle Hassan Ridgeway.
This current iteration of the 49ers defense can be traced back to Armstead’s full-time move to the interior of the line midway through last season. Since then, they’ve been a well-oiled machine, only bolstered with the progression of players like safety Talanoa Hufanga, cornerback Emmanuel Moseley and addition of free agent cornerback Mooney Ward.
Armstead thinks the 49ers have the best defense in the land, as they lead the league in points allowed (11.5 per game) and yards allowed (234.5 per game).
“I would say so,” Armstead said. “When the year ends, there’s gonna be one top defense. That’s what we’re striving to do. We wanna be the best in the world. I think we’re the best in the world. But we gotta go out each Sunday and execute it and prove it, and keep proving it.”