What we learned as re-energized 49ers defense fuels win vs. Jaguars originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Two teams going in opposite directions as they entered their bye weeks readjusted their courses in dramatic fashion Sunday.
The 49ers snapped a three-game losing streak, and the Jacksonville Jaguars no longer are the hottest team in football.
Quarterback Brock Purdy returned to his pre-losing-streak-hotness and the defense regained its swagger as the 49ers rolled to an impressive 34-3 victory over the Jaguars to the delight of a road crowd decked out in predominantly red colors.
The 49ers improved to 6-3 on the season, and the Jaguars (6-3) dropped a game for the first time since Sept. 24.
Here are the takeaways from the 49ers’ decisive victory at EverBank Stadium:
Defense fashions new look
But his presence appeared to have an immediate impact for the 49ers as he began working his way into the mix on the Jaguars’ second possession of the game.
Nick Bosa and Young, the former Ohio State teammates, combined for a sack of Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence in the second quarter with Bosa recovering the fumble. That was the first of several big plays for the 49ers’ defense.
Defensive coordinator Steve Wilks moved from the coaches box to the sideline, but what stood out was what happened on the field.
The 49ers’ defense looked to be a lot more energized with the pass rush cranking it up, leading to a couple of takeaways.
Bosa nearly had another sack in the third quarter, but he came up with something better. He pressured Lawrence into a throw that glanced off running back Tank Bigsby and into the hands of Talanoa Hufanga for his third interception of the season.
The 49ers also made a change in how they cover the slot receiver, as Deommodore Lenoir moved into the nickel back position in place of Isaiah Oliver. Ambry Thomas entered the game to play cornerback, allowing Lenoir to move inside.
Thomas came up with a huge play in the third quarter when he stripped Jaguars receiver Christian Kirk at the 6-yard line. Thomas recovered and ran it back 92 yards, only to have the return nullified due to unsportsmanlike conduct when multiple 49ers players and coaches entered the field.
The 49ers dominated with four takeaways and five sacks of Lawrence.
Offense continues strong starts
The Jaguars entered the game on a five-game win streak and did not trail by more than three points in any of those games.
The 49ers did not waste any time in jumping ahead of their Week 10 game.
In the process, the 49ers extended their status as the NFL’s best-starting team with 38 points on their opening possession of games this season.
Quarterback Brock Purdy came bursting out the chute after the bye week as the 49ers marched 57 yards on four plays.
Purdy capped the drive with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Aiyuk. Purdy’s pass was delivered with pin-point accuracy over Jaguars cornerback Tyson Campbell and free safety Andre Cisco in the back of the end zone.
On the day, Purdy completed 19 of 26 pass attempts for 296 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions.
Purdy capped his day with a 22-yard touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk with 12:40 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Owning the middle of the game
Coach Kyle Shanahan places a big emphasis on controlling the ball at the end of the first half, especially when the 49ers are set to receive the kickoff to open the second half.
The 49ers used those back-to-back series to produce what amounted to a 10-point possession to stretch out their lead.
The near-ideal scenario played out. The 49ers took over at their own 25-yard line after the Jaguars cut the 49ers’ lead to 10-3 with 4:20 remaining in the second quarter.
Then, the 49ers went on a methodical 11-play, 61-yard drive to run out the final minutes of the first half.
Kicker Jake Moody barely squeezed a 35-yard field goal inside (or over) the right upright to extend the 49ers’ lead to 13-3 on the final play of the second quarter.
Because the 49ers won the opening coin toss and deferred, they got the ball to open the third quarter. And they wasted little time in taking control of the game.
That play gave the 49ers a commanding 20-3 lead with 14:10 remaining in the third quarter.