Arians says his Cardinals “have become the No.1 defense in the league against the run for a reason.”

SANTA CLARA — Cardinals’ head coach Bruce Arians spoke to Bay Area reporters on a conference call Thursday afternoon. Here is a transcript.

Q: The first time you played the 49ers this season, you gave up a long drive in the fourth quarter and it was mostly runs. How much of a challenge is it this week to not let something like that happen again?

ARIANS: It’s a challenge every week. We feel like we have gotten better from that drive. We learned a lot from that drive and have become the No.1 defense in the league against the run for a reason. But they present great challenges because of the way they run the football. The biggest thing about that drive, it was (preceded)  by a fumble where we had a chance to take the lead.

Q: So what did your defense learn from that drive?

ARIANS: Stay in your gap and don’t try to do too much. Very, very simple.

Q: Would you say that’s the primary reason you were able to win in Seattle, you were able to stop their run game?

ARIANS: Yes, I thought stopping the run was huge in that game. We wanted to win both lines of scrimmage. We felt like our defensive line stopped them pretty good, and then our third down conversion rate was outstanding on defense, getting off the field.

Q: Your team is playing very well right now. Is this what you envisioned from your team before the season started?

ARIANS: I thought we had the capabilities of getting better every week, especially defensively. I thought we could be outstanding defensively. As our offense grew and learned, we’d be a better football team in the last half of the football season than we’d be in the first half of the football season, for sure. That was our goal – whatever happened in the first eight, don’t worry about it. The second eight we should be the football team we want to be.

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