49ers get their groove back, run over Jaguars on the road

Nov 12, 2023, 3:07 PM | Updated: 9:53 pm

George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers spikes the ball after a touchdown during the third qua...

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The 49ers faced a lot of questions the last few weeks, silencing pretty much all of them with their Week 10 thrashing of the Jaguars.

The San Francisco 49ers got back in the win column Sunday, going into Jacksonville and taking care of business, 34-3. A game that the visitors needed badly, turned into a rout for them, and put them back into contention for a deep playoff run. Three straight losses didn’t sit well for the Red & Gold, deterring the naysayers away with the Week 10 win.

Here’s how it happened.

The 49ers got to work early, with their defense coming to play. After getting pressure on the first two plays, San Francisco got home on third down, with defensive linemen Arik Armstead and Clelin Ferrell taking down quarterback Trevor Lawrence to force a three and out.

The 49ers’ offense got going from there, going on a four-play drive to endzone.

Along the way, QB Brock Purdy connected with running back Christian McCaffrey for nine-yard gain on play-action. Then, he hit tight end George Kittle on a beautiful floater over Jacksonville defenders for 29 yards. The next play, Purdy scrambled to his left before throwing across his body to the middle of the endzone. Luckily, wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk was there to secure the 13-yard pass for the touchdown.

7-0 to the 49ers in the matter of minutes.

The Red & Gold defense continued to roll there after, forcing the home team to punt twice more before the end in the first quarter. In fact, they had Lawrence and the Jags to 20 total yards in the first quarter.

San Francisco’s offense responded to their defense getting home by putting up a long drive of 10 plays. During the team’s second drive of the game, Purdy converted a crucial third down to WR Jauan Jennings. But eventually, Jacksonville got home too, forcing Purdy to take a sack in the redzone.

On came rookie kicker Jake Moody, hitting the field goal from 39 yards to put the 49ers up 10-0. And that’s how the first half ended.

But with their back against the wall, the Jags’ defense didn’t give up without a fight, forcing the 49ers into two-straight three and outs in the second quarter. Both 49ers’ drives were halted at their own expense, picking up penalties that keep them on their heels.

In turn, the 49ers’ defense picked up the slack, forcing the first turnover of the game thanks to Nick Bosa and Chase Young.

The star defensive ends were in-sync Sunday, combining for two sacks and four QB hits. Their first came in the second quarter, meeting in the backfield for a Lawrence sack. But while Young took him down, Bosa stripped him, falling on the football.

Unfortunately, the 49ers’ offense couldn’t capitalize, forced to punt it away.

Jacksonville’s offense then woke up for a minute, going on a 14-play, 85-yard drive. The home team was also helped by the 49ers, getting called for penalties and missing tackles along the way. The 49ers defense held on after that, with cornerback Charvarius Ward getting a big pass-breakup on WR Christian Kirk in the endzone.

On came K Brandon McManus, hitting the FG from 37 yards to cut the score to 10-3 near the end of the first half.

San Francisco responded to that by going on a long drive of their own to close out the half. They did so by using the screen pass, getting McCaffrey into the open field for big gains. And after a facemask committed by the Jaguars, the 49ers were in business. But Jacksonville held strong thereafter, with Purdy committing internal grounding after DE Travon Walker tripped him up.

Content with any points, on came Moody to barely hit the 35-yarder, putting the 49ers up, 13-2, at the half.

Getting the ball to open the second half, SF only needed two plays to hit paydirt. After getting the ball to CMC for a nine-yard gain, coach Kyle Shanahan schemed up a deep shot to George Kittle. The play worked to perfection, with the tight end beating his man as Purdy hung in a collapsing pocket to deliver a strike downfield.

Losing the linebacker to the turf, Kittle walked (literally) into the endzone for a 66-yard score. 20-3 to open the second half for the 49ers.

San Francisco’s defense followed suit, getting pressure on Lawrecne to make his life uncomfortable. After six plays, that pressure turned into a turnover thanks to Nick Bosa. The pass rusher forced the QB to roll to his left, trying to force a ball to RB Travis Etienne while being tackled. The football slipped through his fingers and into safety Talanoa Hufanga’s arms for the interception.

Sadly, the 49ers couldn’t capitalize off that either, going three and out on the next possession.

Jacksonville wasn’t going away either, returning with an eight-play drive into the redzone. Lawrence finally connected on a deep ball, hitting Kirk for an 39-yard gain to put them in striking distance. After a few plays, they had a first and goal for thee first time all day.

But in typical 49ers fashion, they made the big play when it mattered most.

Cornerback Ambry Thomas was there hero this time, attempting to tackle Kirk on a short out route. While doing so, the CB ripped the ball away from the wideout, picking it up and running it back for six points. But unfortunately, that didn’t stand, as the 49ers sideline stepped on the field accidentally during the play.

Nevertheless, a massive turnover for the backup swing the momentum back to the visitors.

The 49ers’ offense this time responded with a strong drive, going 81 yards in seven plays. Chewing off almost four minutes of clock, the drive ended with a WR Deebo Samuel end-around run from 23 yards away. Seeing blockers in front of him, Samuel knifed his way into the endzone for six.

27-3 49ers, as the third quarter came to a close.

With the game all but won, the 49ers took their foot off the gas for the entire fourth period, trotting Purdy out there for one more full series.

Putting the exclamation point on the contest, San Francisco turned another interception by Lawrence into a three-play scoring drive. This time it went to fullback Kyle Juszycyk, running a vertical route up the seam. Purdy saw that and delivered a strike for the 22-yard dagger on the day, 34-3.

The rest of the fourth quarter featured the backups and coaches try and get Christian McCaffrey into the undone for his record-breaking score. If he had hit pay-dirt in Week 10, he would have broke Lenny Moore’s record of 17-straight games with a TD.

Sadly, that didn’t happened however, as the 49ers turned it over on downs trying to get CMC his score.

Regardless, the 49ers bounced back in a big way Sunday, snapping a three-game skid to move to 6-3. And while the team would have loved to get their star ballcarrier his record, they are happy to win the contest, first and foremost.

“Yeah, I suck. Everyone else on the team scored, except me,” McCaffrey joked after the game Sunday. “No, it means a lot to me for them to keep me in at the end of the game there and try to give me that record. but hey, I’ll take a huge win.”

The rest of the team followed suit, making jokes at the podium, including Kyle Shanahan. But his was regarding Purdy’s poor decision-making on his first TD throw.

“I can say this because he played well: That was one of his worst decisions he’s made since he’s been here. It took me awhile to get over it, but I thanked him for the touchdown,” Shanahan said with a smile.

And Purdy agreed, also saying it was a bad read, while smirking. But with a stat line of 296 yards passing and three touchdowns, the 49ers will live with that.

Linebacker Fred Warner also had a chuckle with the media, reflecting on his late-game interception on Trevor Lawrence. The 49ers captain now has three picks on the season.

“Yeah, that was pretty tough, man. I have to say, Trevor Lawrence, he throws a good ball. Nice, tight spiral to me,” Warner said with a laugh.

Jokes aside, the 49ers’ defense had their best outing in a month, holding the AFC-South leaders to three points at home. Not only did the players do well, but the coaching staff was on point with defensive coordinator Steve Wilks on the sideline for the first time.

“I think the mindset was there. The different looks were there. I think Wilks called a perfect game. We just got back to being us, honestly,” he added.

Now 6-3, the 49ers will look to go on another run in the second half of the 2023 season. That can continue next weekend, returning home to Levi’s Stadium to host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, Nov. 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 p.m. PST
  • Thursday, Nov. 23rd @ Seattle Seahawks – 5:20 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, Dec. 3rd @ Philadelphia Eagles – 1:25 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, Dec. 10th vs. Seattle Seahawks – 1:05 p.m. PST
  • Sunday, Dec. 17th @ Arizona Cardinals – 1:05 p.m. PST

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