Originally written on 60 Max Power O  |  Last updated 11/10/14

SAN FRANCISCO - OCTOBER 5: Justin Smith #94 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the field during the game against the New England Patriots on October 5, 2008 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
The San Francisco 49ers have been gashed for big yardage after DT Justin Smith was injured on Dec. 16th against the New England Patriots, and he is unlikely to play in the season finale against the Arizona Cardinals due to his partially torn left triceps. Moving forward after the finale, his status for the playoffs is uncertain as well. He could either miss some or all of the post-season. Not good either way. Despite the glaring loss on defense, Patrick Willis thinks the 49ers can still be a great defense without their All-Pro tackle. “You can’t really put into words what he means to this defense,” Willis said, via the Associated Press. “We most certainly miss him, and hopefully we’ll get him back for the playoffs.” “But we have a great defense, and I truly believe that. When you have what we have on our defense, we should be able to go out there and display that each time. Starting from this Sunday, we have to make sure we go out and do that on a consistent basis and play like the defense we know we’re capable of playing like.” It'll be a wait and see approach on Smith, but if the past two weeks have been any indication, San Francisco may not get too far in the post-season. When Smith went out early in the 3rd quarter, the Patriots proceeded to pick apart the 49ers defense for four straight touchdowns to make a game out of a first half blowout. Last week in Seattle is an even better gauge at just how this defense looks without Smith. Their 42-13 blowout loss to Seattle was the worst beating head coach Jim Harbaugh took in his two seasons with the team. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio doesn't see the absence of Smith as the reason why the defense looked so bad. “He’s a great player, one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and anytime you lose one of those guys it does have an adverse effect on you,” Fangio said. “But I didn’t think the problems we’ve had, the last game in particular, were because of Justin not being there. We could have had five Justin Smiths. That wasn’t the issue. We didn’t play good, didn’t coach good, and those guys just whipped us.” var switchTo5x=true; stLight.options({publisher:''});
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Mike Zimmer: Adrian Peterson can play for Vikings or not at all

RG3 misses 'having fun playing football' after two tough seasons

Houston mayor's office weighs in on Kaepernick Instagram post

Dallas Cowboys using drones to tape practice sessions

LeBron James' manager is mentoring Johnny Manziel

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Details emerge from McDonald's domestic violence arrest

Eagles rookie receiver arriving early to practice in a taxi

Eric Berry 'doing well' after finishing cancer treatments

WATCH: Blatt has special message for LeBron

Shaq once threatened to murder Kobe Bryant

Bryce Harper: Mike Trout is the best player in baseball

Are the Texas Rangers contenders or pretenders?

WATCH: IRS official zings FIFA with play on words

LeBron James needs to revert to an old style, not an old form

After sweep by Cavaliers, what's next for the Hawks?

Michigan DB Jabril Peppers tees off on NCAA on Twitter

Star NFL player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Adrian Peterson expected to attend 'Adrian Peterson Day'

Blatter, corruption and Women's World Cup: It's complicated

JR Smith’s mom quotes Drake after sweep of Hawks

Hawks radio announcer calls Dellavedova 'Tonya Harding'

FIFA officials arrested, to be extradited to US for corruption

WATCH: LeBron throws down huge dunk from inside FT line

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Star player missing OTAs? Keep calm...

Transfer rumors: Drogba, Pirlo and Gomez linked to MLS

Cano's slump: The good news, bad news

Disappointments of the MLB season

UGA wants SEC to ban transfers with misconduct issues

Long's great reaction to Bears releasing McDonald

Crazy stats from the NBA Playoffs

WATCH: Curry leaves game after nasty fall

Royals' Guthrie sets records in blowout

Bears cut McDonald after incident

Report: Pierce could opt out of contract

The Talented Mr. Blatt

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.