JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Who are the Real 49ers?
Are they the team that beats its top five opponents in the 2023 NFL season and rises to the top of everyone’s power rankings?
Or are they the team that entered the bye week with a lot of questions?
The 49ers certainly looked like they were at their best on Sunday while handing the Jacksonville Jaguars a 34-3 rout at Everbank Stadium. The victory broke the 49ers’ three-game skid and snapped the Jaguars’ five-game winning streak.
“We had three games that weren’t ours,” 49ers linebacker Fred Warner said. “We had to get back to playing 49ers football, especially on the defensive end.
“We had to be proud of what we were recording, and today I feel like we did.”
This will certainly be duly noted in their impressive Week 10 win grades:
The 49ers attempted 30 punts and averaged 4.8 yards per carry — even with quarterback Sam Darnold taking a knee three times to end the game.
Christian McCaffrey rushed for 95 yards on 16 carries, and Deebo Samuel added 29 yards and a touchdown on three rushing attempts.
The return of left tackle Trent Williams certainly helped, and John Feliciano stepped in and played well in place of injured left guard Aaron Banks.
The only thing that didn’t go as planned: McCaffrey was tackled out of the end zone, ending his 17-straight game touchdown streak.
A passing violation
Quarterback Brock Purdy has found a solution to the fourth-quarter turnovers that have plagued him during the 49ers’ three-game losing streak. He played so well through three quarters that he attempted only one pass in the fourth quarter. That was a 22-yard touchdown pass to linebacker Kyle Juszczyk that sent the signal caller to the sideline for the remainder of the rout.
Purdy completed 19 of 26 pass attempts for 296 yards with three touchdown passes, no interceptions and a passer rating of 148.9. He now leads the NFL with a passer rating of 109.9 for the season.
Tight end George Kittle had three catches for 116 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown run in the first minute of the second half. Brandon Aiyuk had a 13-yard touchdown run to cap the first drive of the game.
The 49ers tightened their run defense, allowing 3.5 yards per rushing attempt on the day.
Travis Etienne, the Jaguars’ leading rusher, had just 35 yards on nine rushing attempts. Typically a high-volume rusher, the Jaguars have had trouble getting their ground game going and extending drives.
Linebacker Dre Greenlaw, who has been battered in recent weeks, had a strong showing with a team-high eight tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage. Nick Bosa, Clelin Ferrell and Javon Hargrave also took losses.
The 49ers had four turnovers. So they actually had more takeaways than the points allowed.
Bosa also had a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Embry Thomas also forced a fumble and made a recovery after Christian Kirk got a short completion.
Talanoa Hufanga and Fred Warner intercepted Trevor Lawrence, who struggled to get anything going against the 49ers defense.
Bosa and Hargrave had 1.5 sacks each to lead a pass rush that produced five sacks. Chase Young, who made his 49ers debut, had half a sack.
Rookie kicker Jake Moody made field goals of 39 and 35 yards, the latter of which sneaked just inside the right post on the final play of the first half. He was also good on six kickoffs, with the Jaguars’ average starting point being the 24-yard line.
Punter Mitch Wishnowsky wasn’t called upon often, but he came up with another big day, averaging 42.0 net yards on three punts, including a 56-yarder he dropped at the 1-yard line.
The 49ers’ game plans gave both sides of the ball plenty of individual opportunities to make plays on Sunday. Many of these players have taken full advantage of the opportunities available to them.
The tip of the hat goes to defensive coordinator Steve Wilks, who asked for it from the sideline. The 49ers linked their pass rush with their coverages on the back end very well.
Offensively, the 49ers made it look easy at times as Purdy hit open receivers, while things opened up in the running game for both McCaffrey and Samuel.
The only thing we could downgrade the coaching for is coach Kyle Shanahan being one of the individuals on the field during Thomas’ fumble return that resulted in an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty to invalidate his return for a touchdown.
This performance was similar to what the 49ers performed in the first five games of the season.
After a three-game losing streak, the 49ers returned to their old way of doing business after the bye week.
“She was playing complementary football,” Shanahan said. “It took us a little bit of back and forth, but I thought once we played well on both sides, then the result would be what it did.”