The San Francisco 49ers have moved on from their two game losing streak earlier this season with some fantastic performances in recent weeks. The 49ers have scored 30+ points against four consecutive opponents and in all five of their wins this season. The 49ers defense has been outstanding, the rushing attack has found its groove, and the passing attack seems to be on the mend. Against the Tennessee Titans, Colin Kaepernick showed he had faith in allowing his pass catchers to get open and to make plays on balls that he seemed hesitant to throw earlier in the season. Tim Ryan called the game Sunday and said that Anquan Boldin has redefined what the term “open” means for Kaepernick. Kaepernick was able to throw a perfectly placed ball in between two defenders and the sideline where only Boldin could make the play. Boldin laid out, made the catch, and allowed Kaepernick’s confidence to grow.
Kaepernick and the rest of the 49ers have a great opportunity to score 30+ points in five consecutive games and walk out of London with a 6-2 record. The Jacksonville Jaguars are and atrocious 0-7 and have allowed 31.7 points per game, the worst PPG average in the NFL this season. Conversely, the 49ers have allowed 19.3 points per game, but are averaging 12.75 points per game during their current four game win streak.
The Jaguars rank last in rushing yards allowed (153.3 per game) and rushing offense (63.0 yards per game) while the Niners rank 3rd in rushing yards (143.3 per game) and 18th in rushing yards allowed (106.7 per game). It is safe to say the 49ers will give the Jaguars all the Frank Gore and Co. that they can handle. I’d expect the 49ers yards against to decrease quite a bit this week as well, especially considering that the Jaguars first round draft pick, offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, is already out for the season. With these developments, Maurice Jones-Drew has his lowest average per rush for his career to date with no relief in sight.
Jacksonville does have two capable wide receivers in Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon, but with an awful offensive line and Chad Henne at quarterback, the 49ers secondary could be poised for another big day. The secondary has started to see the “olives fall out of the jar” recently and this could be another big day for Eric Reid or Tramaine Brock with their knack for creating turnovers this season. Tarell Brown (zero interceptions) and Donte Whitner (one interception) would love to get in on the action as well.
Vernon Davis has become a huge target for Kaepernick, setting a career high with 180 yards and two touchdowns against the Arizona Cardinals two weeks ago and having a productive day with four catches for 62 yards against the Titans last week. Anquan Boldin added five catches for 74 yards, but didn’t find the end zone. With Kaepernick showing that he is developing a trust with his receivers and tight ends last week, this could be a game where he looks more like the quarterback from the game against the Green Bay Packers and reminds people that he can beat people from the pocket or with his legs. Kaepernick was held without a passing touchdown for the first time in a win this season.
With all the 49ers success, there has been no reason for the 49ers to throw the ball 40-50 times because they are getting scores on the defensive side of the ball and the running backs are finding the end zone. When the defense and rushing attack are putting points on the board, there is less pressure on the quarterback, more time gets taken off the clock, and the 49ers defense gets to rest more. There is nothing wrong with winning the way the opposing defense allows you to and that is exactly what the 49ers have been doing in recent weeks.
This game could get out of hand early with a determined 49ers defense and Colin Kaepernick looking to keep adding notches to the win column for the 49ers. This game will not be a “Taco Bye Week” (if you don’t get the reference, please start watching The League on FX), but only because Gus Bradley is smart enough to not start three kickers.
The 49ers should head into the bye week at 6-2 with Mario Manningham, Michael Crabtree, and several other key contributors coming back in the weeks following the bye and the contest against the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers, Saints, and Seahawks are the only teams left on the 49ers schedule with a winning record. The Redskins, Rams, Buccaneers, Falcons, and Cardinals round out the rest of the schedule for the Niners. While San Francisco is still chasing the Seahawks, Seattle still has to play at Candlestick Park in early December which could end up being the deciding factor in which team wins the NFC West and has the potential for a first-round bye.