Back to .500

Back to .500

The 49ers have received a lot of negative press this year. They have been heavily criticized by the media and even worse by the fans. Jimmy Garoppolo and Coach Kyle Shanahan are the main focus for this year’s criticism. The fans haven’t been listening. Neither has the media. The 49ers front office feels like they have a roster capable of making it back to the Super Bowl. They have said that from the very beginning of training camp. The 49ers are not that far removed from their pre-covid Miami Super Bowl appearance in February of last year. That is why Jimmy G is still on the roster and leading the offense on the field. Unfortunately, like last season, they have been snake bitten by injuries again this year. However, last week’s game followed up by this week’s game shows what the 49ers are capable of getting it done week in and week out. Jimmy G is the quarterback to lead this team. Jimmy G is the quarterback for Trey Lance to learn from. Jimmy G is the best quarterback on the roster to lead this team back to the Super Bowl this year.

Sunday’s game was the 49ers fourth win on the road this year. It is also their second win in a row. The 49ers are building confidence in themselves as they slowly begin to stack wins. This game had all the makings of a trap game. The 49ers had to travel to the east coast on a short week and were playing a Jaguars team who has shown themselves to be quite capable of keeping games close and pulling off shocking wins in clutch time. Just two weeks ago the Jaguars beat the Buffalo Bills 9 to 6. The 49ers did their homework and were ready to play.

The first offensive possession of the game went much like the first offensive possession of the game last week against the Rams. This week it was 87 yards on 20 plays in 13 minutes. However, the difference this week was that the Jaguars actually stopped the 49ers twice during the drive. They forced two fourth downs. However, in both instances, the Jaguars committed defensive penalties allowing the 49ers to stay on the field and continue their drive. Once again, the Jaguars force a 4th down with less than a yard to go for a touchdown. Coach Shanahan really wanted to go for it, but he thought it was best to get points on the board. The decision is only wrong if you miss the field goal or don’t get the first down. Robbie Gould kicked the field goal starting the 49ers 30 point run on the Jaguars. During the 49ers third possession the Jaguars again helped the 49ers convert a third down they had stopped by committing a defensive penalty. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. The 49ers will have some good film to watch this week to improve on things they didn’t execute well on Sunday.

Jimmy Garoppolo started the game a bit shaky and inconsistent. His throws were not always on target. However, once he settled into the game, he became more efficient and finished the day with 176 yards and two touchdown throws. In fact, the only player that he targeted who did not catch a ball was Trent Williams.

The 49ers wanted to run the ball. They were committed to getting the ground game going and were rewarded for that commitment. This week they ran it 42 times for 171 yards. Only two players achieved 50 yards or more: Deebo Samuel and Jeff Wilson Jr. Yes, I wrote Deebo Samuel. This week he was the team’s leading rusher with 79 yards and a touchdown on 8 carries. Deebo is just a football player and we 49ers fans love it! The 49ers are also very physical at the point of attack. Juan Jennings was so physical he frustrated Rayshawn Jenkins to the point that Jenkins started throwing hands causing him to get ejected from the game. Physical football has a great many advantages.

Coach Shanahan has been sorely disappointed with Brandon Aiyuk this season. He did not come to camp with the right mindset setting him back quite a bit this season. However, since the bye week, Aiyuk has stormed on to the scene. This week he collected seven passes for 85 yards and a touchdown. Aiyuk was the key to victory. Only one other player out of seven caught more than two passes and that was George Kittle. Aiyuk runs crisp routes and has sure hands. Hopefully he continues to improve and sustains his outstanding play.

Coach DeMeco Ryans is finding his way. The 49ers defense made life extremely difficult on the Jaguars. They sacked Trevor Lawrence 3 times and held their rushing attack to a mere 54 yards. They forced several three and outs. The Jaguars second offensive possession was only one play because Josh Norman punched the ball out of the Laviska Shenault’s hands and Fred Warner recovered the forced fumble. Nick Bosa added two more sacks to his tally and Arden Key collected another sack for his season. This is the second week in a row where the defense has had an above average performance.

Jimmy Garoppolo achieved 10,000 yards through the air this game. You have to love his humility. During the press conference he was asked how he felt about that. He didn’t even know he achieved that important milestone. Regardless of Jimmy G’s faults, he is hands down the right guy to lead this football team. He maintains a positive attitude. He has an infectious smile. He has a will to win and his players love playing with him.

Josh Norman said it right: “quit giving Coach hell!” Coach Shanahan is only human. As a human you make mistakes. Sometimes it takes some time to figure things out. Coach Shanahan clearly wanted to play both quarterbacks at the beginning of the season. That cost the 49ers a few wins. It cost the 49ers a few wins because the locker-room was split and lacked clear direction from the head man. Who is the quarterback? Who is leading this team? It is clear that during the bye week there was an internal philosophical adjustment. Coach Shanahan knows what it takes to win. He is also humble enough to recognize when he is making mistakes. There is no need to be wishy washy on this issue. Trey Lance is the back up until he isn’t. There is no need to play both quarterbacks in a game. Jimmy G has been given the keys to the race car and he is driving it well.

Next week it will be a battle of two .500 teams as the 49ers welcome Minnesota to the Bay. The Vikings won a close one at home against Green Bay on Sunday. The 49ers will be patiently waiting for them at Levi’s Stadium.

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