The San Francisco 49ers emerged as the leaders of the NFC West following the Week 9 Bye. While the 49ers took some time off to recover from the first half of the season, the Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks all dropped their matchups on Sunday, lifting San Francisco back to the top of the division standings.
In a bonus practice on Monday, the 49ers welcomed back three players to the field. That group included wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and linebacker Dre Greenlaw, in addition to cornerback Darrell Luter Jr. (bone bruise), defensive lineman Robert Beal Jr. (hamstring) and cornerback Samuel Womack III (knee), who all had their practice windows opened after spending time on the PUP and Injured Reserve lists.
The recent acquisition of defensive lineman Chase Young has also added to the hype of San Francisco headed into the second half of the season. Young is the second pass rusher added to the team in the month of October in an effort to create a formidable and disruptive defensive front. Through the first half of the season, Young is averaging 50-plus snaps a game and has amassed 5.0 sacks, 15 total tackles (six tackles-for-loss), nine quarterback hits and a pass breakup.
In Week 10, the 49ers will be playing away from home, traveling cross country to take on the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Let's take a look at what national outlets had to say about the 49ers headed into Week 10:
Lead Draft Writer Eric Edholm
"The Week 9 bye provided a soft landing after a three-game losing streak, and it also helped give me some perspective on this team. The sky isn't falling, I suspect. Even taking into account all the issues that cropped up over the past month, there is still a path for the 49ers to get to the Super Bowl. Brock Purdy was playing at an MVP level before his three-game struggles, and with the eventual returns of Deebo Samuel and Trent Williams (who each missed the past two contests), Purdy can return to that level. The defense, which has struggled to pressure or cover consistently of late, also has help arriving in the form of trade acquisition Chase Young. The schedule remains thorny, but six of the Niners' remaining nine games come against teams currently below them on this list."
NFL Writer Nick Wagoner on a Non-QB MVP
"McCaffrey staked an early spot in the league MVP race, but an oblique injury in Week 6 has slowed that momentum a bit. Still, McCaffrey ranks in the top three in the league in scrimmage yards per game (118), total touchdowns (13) and rushing yards (652). He also has scored a touchdown in 17-straight games (including playoffs), tying him with Lenny Moore for the longest streak in NFL history."
NFL Writer Mike Florio
"That losing streak needs to end this weekend."
NFL Writer David Helman
"It's about as agonizingly close as you can come to a win while still losing, and it does count for something that the Cowboys were able to push a Super Bowl contender to the brink. Still not good enough for an organization with so much baggage. This is a playoff team, but they're still searching for the win that proves they can be more than that."