Everyone can relax for a minute. They’re back.
The San Francisco 49ers (6-3) came out of their bye and into Jacksonville to dominate the AFC South-leading Jaguars (6-3), 34-3, and dispel any rumors of their irreparable demise.
They’re back pic.twitter.com/fwyjecIx4l
— Tracy Sandler (@TracyFGSN) November 12, 2023
The 49ers defense, with its newly acquired pass rusher Chase Young, showed renewed life.
“We definitely got a lot more pressure on the quarterback,” said 49ers cornerback Charvarius Ward. “I haven’t watched the film yet, but I’m pretty sure Chase has something to do with it. I saw the sacks coming from both sides…I definitely feel like we came out with our hair on fire and played hard today.”
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sacked five times and intercepted twice. The San Francisco defense also forced two fumbles.
“Every time it seemed like they got going, our guys just never stopped,” said 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan. “You don’t get points until you cross the goal line or kick it through the uprights, and our guys made so many plays when they were getting down there, they just were relentless today, and kept going for that ball, and eventually everything took care of itself.”
Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks moved from the booth to the sideline, and though that was hardly the reason for the success of his defense, it apparently didn’t hurt.
“I felt his energy,” said defensive lineman Arik Armstead. “He came up to us, congratulated us on some plays, and that voice telling us to keep going and don’t let up. So yeah, I definitely felt him on the sideline.”
The 49ers began the season 5-0, but after three straight losses, it was imperative that they leave Jacksonville with a win.
“I think it was huge,” said said tackle Trent Williams. “Losing four straight, I think, a lot of people would have wanted to turn the panic lights on. We would have had our proverbial back against the wall. So coming out and getting this win on the road against a really good team that’s been rolling…it’s definitely what we needed.”
Williams, who had been battling an ankle injury, was a game-time decision.
“It was truly questionable,” Williams said after the game. “I know a lot of people say that, and over the years in my career, every time I’ve been questionable, I pretty much end up playing. I know it’s what you guys expected…Thursday and Friday went okay. It didn’t go as well as I expected…Long flight…Friday got some rehab, Saturday got some good rehab, and today I decided to give it a go.”
Williams joked his ankle “didn’t get any better” during the game, but there are no setbacks to report.
The 49ers had two other talent and energy additions. The first was wide receiver Deebo Samuel, who hadn’t played since injuring his shoulder in Cleveland on October 15. He returned to rush for 29 yards, including a 23-yard, fourth quarter touchdown.
“It was kind of like a reverse,” Samuel said. “I came around the edge and I didn’t see nothing but white jerseys and two blue jerseys, and I’m like, ain’t no choice but to get in the end zone right now.”
Samuel also had four receptions for 30 yards.
The next addition was pass rusher Young, who appeared in his first game since he was traded to San Francisco on Oct. 31. Young said earlier in the week that he and college teammate Nick Bosa said after the trade that they would meet “at the quarterback,” which they did early in the second quarter sharing a sack. Sharing is caring.
“Having him is such a big threat,” Bosa said. “I think we played off of each other well. Me and him are really excited to keep going.”
Defensive lineman Javon Hargrave had a first quarter sack and maybe his best day as a 49er, adding three quarterback hits and a tackle for loss.
Javon Hargrave had a day with 1.5 sacks, 3 QB hits and a tackle for loss. Whatever he was experiencing with his knee on Thursday certainly didn’t hurt him today.
— Tracy Sandler (@TracyFGSN) November 13, 2023
And then there was the Brock Purdy of it all. During the losing streak, Purdy threw five interceptions and had a passer rating of 77.9. In Sunday’s win, the 49ers QB1 was 19-of-26 with three touchdowns, the highest passer rating of his career (148.9), and zero interceptions.
“When you lose three in a row, obviously it’s like, man, you want to get back on track,” Purdy said. “But honestly, we’ve taken every single game very seriously, and we come to work. We never got complacent or anything…but for this one, we came with the right mindset of backs against the wall in a sense, and let’s play like hungry again.”
Purdy’s touchdown passes were to fullback Kyle Juszczyk, George Kittle, and Brandon Aiyuk. Aiyuk’s was first. It was a dangerous throw and Purdy and the 49ers are lucky Aiyuk, and not the two Jaguars defenders he was surrounded by, came down with it.
Dangerous but effective. Purdy to Aiyuk. Touchdown #49ers. They look better already.
— Tracy Sandler (@TracyFGSN) November 12, 2023
“That was honestly, I can say this because he played his ass off, he played well, but that was like one of his worst decisions I think he’s made since he’s been here, and it took me a while to get over it,” Shanahan said, sort of with a smile. “I thanked him for the touchdown, but that was not a good decision. He was fortunate with it, but he made a lot of really good plays, and if you are going to make a bad decision and it’s still a touchdown, in the grand scheme of things, you can tell me it was a real good decision. But he knows that. He knows what he did wrong. But he made them right.”
Kittle’s touchdown was a 66-yarder on the second play of the third quarter, a play in which Kittle sauntered onto into the end zone.
“It’s really difficult to get that open,” Kittle said with a total smile. “I saw him fall, I knew it was man coverage, too. I was like, well, I knew the safety went the other way because he was covering someone else. Just had some fun going into the end zone. I probably won’t ever walk in again because I’m going to get yelled at for that. But at least I didn’t drop the ball before I got in the end zone.”
Oh, and Jake Moody was 2-for-2 on field goals and 4-for-4 for extra points. So he was perfect on Sunday.
Next up for San Francisco are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Levi’s Stadium in Week, 11. Then it’s off to Seattle and then Philly.