49ers report card: All-around dominance is ‘just what we needed’

Brock Purdy rebounded from a three-game slide and the 49ers defense was overwhelming in a 34-3 win over the Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA — Here’s how the 49ers (6-3) fared in their 34-3 victory over the Jaguars (6-3) on Sunday:


Brock Purdy leads the NFL in passer rating with 109.9, and his career-high mark of 148.9 on Sunday was boosted by three touchdown passes and no turnovers for the first time in four games. Don’t overlook some of his more daring strong-arm throws to Brandon Aiyuk and Jauan Jennings on the far sideline for third-down conversions. Kyle Shanahan called Purdy’s first touchdown pass “one of his worst decisions” as a 49er, to which the second-year quarterback responded, “I’m not necessarily proud of that play, honestly.” Yes, it was a touchdown, and it was fantastic. B.A. made an excellent play. But I have to be careful with the ball, and if anything, I should have run it.” Instead, Purdy threw a cross-field pass with just enough air and touch to clear George Kittle and two defenders before Aiyuk snatched it. Purdy’s second touchdown pass demonstrated his fantastic combination of pocket-pressure resolve and on-field smarts: he waited just long enough for Kittle to break past a linebacker in man coverage for a 66-yard touchdown two plays into the second half for a 20-3 lead; it evoked momentum-like memories of Christian McCaffrey’s 65-yard touchdown run on the second snap after halftime to break open their Week 1 victory in Pittsburgh.


Christian McCaffrey, the NFL’s rushing leader, failed to score for the 18th consecutive game, keeping him tied with Lenny Moore for the NFL record. However, the 49ers’ offense did not appear to be as reliant on McCaffrey, which is a good thing. Deebo Samuel returned from a shoulder injury and was in motion on the first snap, as McCaffrey gained 6 yards. McCaffrey gained 95 yards on 16 carries. Samuel’s 23-yard touchdown run came after he followed the final blocks of Trent Williams and Jake Brendel. “It’s a little strange because (No. 31) (cornerback Darious Williams) turned and ran.” “I’d never seen anything like that,” Williams said. “I knew (Samuel) was close because I could tell the reaction of the guy in front of me.” Veteran Jon Feliciano performed admirably as he took over at left guard for Aaron Banks (toe). Elijah Mitchell (eight carries, 23 yards) helped put the 49ers in position to boldly try to get McCaffrey into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown at the end.


This was the get-well game, complete with a dominant pass rush and timely coverage tricks. The sacks were shared by Nick Bosa, Javon Hargrave, Clelin Ferrell, Arik Amstead, and Chase Young, and while Hargrave’s 1 1/2 came on third down on the first two series, the most poetic was the sack Bosa and Young shared in the second quarter to force a fumble that Bosa recovered. Following the game, the defense’s coverage men received a lot of credit for their “sticky” play and disguises that confused Trevor Lawrence, who was intercepted by Talanoa Hufanga and Fred Warner. Lawrence, on the other hand, was often successful in targeting Deommodore Lenoir, who shifted inside on passing situations to replace the benched Isaiah Oliver. Ambry Thomas was lauded afterward, and the fumble he forced at the 6-yard line on a catch he allowed played a role in that. Three snaps after receiving an illegal-contact penalty, Charvarius Ward made perfectly timed contact with a Lawrence pass to prevent a potential 19-yard touchdown catch.


This was the 36th consecutive game in which an opponent failed to produce a 100-yard rusher. Travis Etienne of the Jaguars had only 35 yards on nine carries as they attempted to play catch-up through the air. Dre Greenlaw led the team with eight tackles in his comeback performance, while Warner, Lenoir, and Hufanga each had seven. Greenlaw, Hargrave, Bosa, and Ferrell all had a sack.


Nick Moody barely snuck in a 35-yard field goal as the first half expired, after earlier connecting on a 39-yarder, so the rookie kicker is still a little nervous. Punter Mitch Wishnowsky has been an unheralded success story this season, and while he averaged 47 yards on three punts this game, one of them pinned the Jaguars at the 1-yard line. Ray-Ray McCloud’s three punt returns averaged 7.3 yards; his season average of 9.7 yards per return ranks ninth in the NFL.


Kyle Shanahan and his staff came out of the bye week with a bang, keeping the Jaguars off-balance both offensively and defensively. “Winning on the road against a team that’s been rolling … it’s definitely what we needed,” Williams told reporters. Too much focus was placed on defensive coordinator Steve Wilks’ transition from the booth to the sideline, but it didn’t seem to bother him as he went about his business. In anticipation of the Jaguars’ second-and-1 man coverage, Kittle credited Shanahan with dialing up the perfect play for his 66-yard touchdown. Now that a three-game losing streak is over, the 49ers must not underestimate a Buccaneers team that defeated the Titans 20-6; beyond that, the Seattle-Philadelphia-Seattle swing could determine the NFC playoff bracket.

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