Javon Hargrave coming on strong for 49ers at the right time

Nov 16, 2023, 9:15 AM | Updated: 9:20 am

Javon Hargrave #98 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates a sack against the Jacksonville Jaguars du...

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The San Francisco 49ers got back on track Week 10 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, especially Javon Hargrave and the defense.

The 49ers defensive tackle had arguably his best outing of the season in Week 10, recording one and a half sacks from the middle of the line. Hargrave also contributed four combined tackles, and three quarterback hits on the day. Additionally, one of those hits on the QB forced the final turnover of the game in the fourth quarter, with linebacker Fred Warner picking off QB Trevor Lawrence.

Point being: The man known as Gravedigger was all over the field Sunday, leading to five sacks and four turnovers for the Red & Gold.

Those stats are what most 49ers fans expected from the former Philadelphia Eagle when he signed a lucrative four-year extension in free agency. But from weeks four to ten, Hargrave didn’t record a sack, only registering one QB hit in that timeframe. By this time last season, the North Carolina native had seven sacks.

It is all the DT’s fault though, especially during the team’s three-game losing streak. But he is a part of the defensive line, a unit that struggled to get to the QB at times, exposing the team’s secondary as a result.

Despite the inconsistencies, the coaching staff is happy with their new recruit, seeing him get better each week in Santa Clara.

“I’ve been real happy with Javon,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said Wednesday. “I thought he did a real good job in that game. He got the quarterback off his spot a lot, which I think he’s one of the better ones at winning fast, him and [DL] Nick [Bosa]. But I thought just our group as a whole, whether he was getting the quarterback to move or other people were getting the quarterback to move to come to him, I thought collectively they did it their best.”

The eye test and stats back up that statement by Shanahan as well.

Week 10 was the first time the 49ers had recorded four or more sacks since Week 5 against the Dallas Cowboys. In fact, the Red & Gold defense only had five sacks total during their losing skid.

So the million-dollar question remains: What happened to the 49ers during their losing streak?

Simply put: The 49ers took their foot off the gas after starting 5-0, according to the defensive tackle.

“Yeah, it’s hard not to,” Javon Hargrave said Tuesday on KNBR’s Murph & Mac. “Everybody’s got to learn from it. Just not reading too much, not looking at too much. They say it’s like a little poison [when] everybody’s telling you how good you are. And then you can’t read and hear when everybody’s telling you how bad you are.

“Just keeping them blinders on, staying focused and just trying to grow every week.”

As for what changed in the 49ers mindset? Becoming the underdogs once more.

Dropping to 5-3, with the Seattle Seahawks on their heels for the division, San Francisco had their backs against the wall after the bye week. And that’s all it took to light a fire under Javon Hargrave, playing through a knee injury to have his best outing as a 49er.

“We were a little fed up,” he added. “We felt it. I think the bye was a good time for us, just to get away and get our minds right. When we got back in the building, everybody just felt it with everybody.

“It was just time. I think that’s how it was from the first snap of the game until the last snap. Everybody was just hungry. I feel like that’s going to be the mindset from here on out.”

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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