The San Francisco 49ers opened up the second half of the season with a big-time 34-3 win over the AFC South leaders, the Jacksonville Jaguars. With the victory, the red and gold snap a three-game losing streak dating back to October 15th and improved to 6-3 on the year. The 49ers formula for success looked a lot like that of their first five matchups of the year. The team's display of complementary football yielded another 30-plus point output from the offense and a second-half shutout by the defense.
"(I was impressed) just how we overcame a bunch of stuff," head coach Kyle Shanahan said. "I didn't think we overcame perfect ball by any means, you never do. I was just happy that the mistakes that we did make, we always overcame... It was about playing complementary football. It took us while. There was some back and forth, but once I thought we were playing well on both sides, that's when the score became what it did."
Here are five takeaways from Sunday's game:
Defensive Line Brings the Disruption
The 49ers defensive line wasted no time getting home on Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence. On third-and-five of Jacksonville's opening drive, veterans Arik Armstead and Javon Hargrave broke through the middle to bring down Lawrence for a loss of five yards and forced a quick three-and-out. The takedown set the tone for a big day by a refreshed and revamped San Francisco D-line.
The 49ers defensive front hit "copy and paste" when faced with another critical third down situation on the next Jacksonville offensive possession. This time it was a solo Javon Hargrave locking down Lawrence, and he was quickly followed by fellow defensive linemen Nick Bosa and Chase Young who got there for reinforcement. The play rounded out back-to-back three-and-outs for the unit.
Sack No. 3 of the first half came in the second quarter as part of a joint effort by former Ohio State teammates, Bosa and Young. The edge rushers wrapped up Lawrence and combined for a strip sack that was then recovered by the reigning AP NFL Defensive Player of Year. The fumble recovery set San Francisco's offense on their own 49 yard line. Defensive lineman Clelin Ferrell and Bosa added two more sacks in the second half to bring the team's grand total up to five in Week 10.
Bosa entered the Week 10 contest 0.5 sacks away from tying former DL Dana Stubblefield for fourth most sacks in franchise history (46.5). Bosa had 1.5 sacks on the day, and now has now overtaken Stubblefield for the No. 4 spot.
DL Chase Young Makes His 49ers Debut
Sunday marked Young's first gameday as a member of the 49ers. The edge rusher was traded from the Washington Commanders on October 31, and following a Bye and week of practice with San Francisco, suited up for his first game action with his new squad.
Per Shanahan, the goal was to have Young play a significant role on Sunday, and he got his first chance on the 49ers second defensive series of the game. The fourth-year pro made his first splash play in the second quarter when he split a strip sack with Bosa. He closed out the day with 0.5 sacks, two quarterback hits and a tackle.
"Having Chase is such a big threat," Bosa said. "I think we play off of each other well, and we are both excited to keep going."
Rookie Kicker Jake Moody is Money in Jacksonville
Moody had a perfect kicking day against the Jaguars, going two-for-two on field goal attempts and hitting his four PATs. The rookie two made field goalswere from 39 and 35 yards out and helped give the 49ers the 13-3 advantage heading into the second half.
Tight End George Kittle Fires Up the Offense to the Start the Second Half
It took the 49ers offense a total of two second half plays to find pay dirt. Second-year quarterback Brock Purdy hit the "People's Tight End" for a deep pass down the right sideline that resulted in a 66-yard touchdown reception to extend San Francisco's lead to 20-7 with 14:10 to go in the third quarter.
Kittle closed out the day as the team's reception yards leader after hauling in three passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. With those 116 receiving yards, the veteran tight end became just the fourth tight end in NFL history to record 500-or-more receiving yards in the first seven seasons of his career. He needed just 57 yards on Sunday to eclipse this benchmark. Meanwhile, Purdy's 66-yard touchdown pass mark the longest of his career.
"You know what's fun? You come in at halftime, and you sit down as an offense, and Kyle brings up like, 'Hey, these are the eight to 10 pays I want to run this half,'" Kittle said. "That play was the second play of the half, and that was not on there."
Taking Control of the Turnover Battle in Jacksonville
Good things come in fours, and that held true for the 49ers defense who forced four Jaguars turnovers. The first takeaway was a strip sack in the first half, and the unit followed up with three more in the back half of the game.
The 49ers stunted the Jaguars offense on a critical third down early in the third quarter as the Jaguars were making a push into San Francisco territory. On third-and-one, Bosa chased Lawrence out of the pocket and brought him down mid-throw to Jaguars running back Tank Bigsby. The ball bounced off of Bigsby's hands and allowed safety Talanoa Hufanga to make the grab. Hufanga returned the ball 12 yards to set up the 49ers on their own 43 yard line.
Later in the third quarter, cornerback Ambry Thomas forced a fumble off a big hit to Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk. He also recovered the fumble and returned it for a would-be 92-yard touchdown that was nullified by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. The change of possession did stand, however, and the 49ers offense took over on the Jacksonville 19 yard line and capped off the seven-play, 81-yard drive with a 23-yard rushing touchdown by Deebo Samuel. To start the fourth quarter, linebacker Fred Warner intercepted a pass intended for Jaguars running back Travis Etienne, and on the ensuing possession, Purdy led a three-play, 40-yard touchdown scoring drive.
"We had three games that just wasn't us," Warner said. "We had to get back to playing 49ers football, especially on the defensive side. I've spoken on it. We had to take pride in what we were putting on tape, and I felt like we did that."