There is nothing better than the 49ers causing the hometown fans to boo the home team Jets after dominating them for all four quarters of football. No matter how you described the 49ers 34-0 win over the Jets (a rout, drubbing, trouncing, embarrassment), San Francisco returns home for three straight games looking like a completely different team than the one that showed up to Minnesota in week three. Jim Harbaugh had the 49ers return to the philosophy that made them into a 13-3 team last season: dominating rushing, dominating defense and causing turnovers.
The Jets looked clueless on offense, defense and special teams. Their defense had no answer for the 49ers running game. The Jets’ offense could only muster up 145 total yards against the 49ers stingy and stout defense. San Francisco recorded their first road shutout and largest margin of victory on the road since 2002. That season the 49ers defeated the Saints 38-0. Next up is the Bills who better watch out for the rolling 49ers after they displayed plenty of good play and not a lot of bad in Sunday’s huge win over the Jets. Let’s hand out some Game Gold Nugget (GGN’s) awards.
= VERY GOOD
After the 49ers went away from the running game in the week three loss, Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman made the rushing attack the focus of their game plan against the Jets. Nine different players ran the football for a total of 245 yards and averaged 5.6 yards per carry. The 245 rushing yards is the most since in a game since 2010. Frank Gore (62 Yds, 1 TD), Kendall Hunter (56 yds, 1 TD) and Colin Kaepernick (50 Yds, 1 TD) led the way for the 49ers running game.
A big surprise in the game was how Kaepernick was used and how much he was on the field. Harbaugh and Roman gave no indication they would use Kaepernick the way they did, either leading up to the game or the way they had used Kaepernick previously. However, that is why he was so effective in the game because the Jets were not prepared for him. Not only was he used under center, but he lined up at wide receiver which forced the Jets to call a timeout. On the second series he gained 17 yards on a read-option play and a few plays later he launched his only pass of the day 65 yards in the air to Randy Moss, which was batted down because it was underthrown. That was the only time in the game Moss was targeted as he finished with zero catches.
Kaepernick’s biggest play of the day was when he broke a scoreless tie in the second quarter. On 3rd-and-6 at the Jets’ 7-yard line, the second string QB scored a touchdown on a run around the left end and was pushed into the end zone the final two yards by Joe Staley. The touchdown and extra point was the first of 34 points the 49ers could go on to score in the game. Kaepernick showed he is not selfish when he was in for Alex Smith in garbage time and run 30 yards for a potential touchdown. Kaepernick could have easily scored, but he saved the special teams and defense from having to return to the field by sliding a few yards short of the end zone. A classy move by Kaepernick.
The only concern for the 49ers offense, and the reason why the offense was not awarded 5 GGN’s, was the passing game that only gained 143 yards on 12 receptions. The passing game was a non-factor mostly because the 49ers were killing the clock with their running for all of the fourth quarter. Still, the 49ers offense only had one touchdown drive of more than 48 yards.
After being a big reason why the 49ers lost to the Viking in week three, the defense in week four was a big reason why the 49ers trounced the Jets with a shutout on their home turf. The defense generated four turnovers, gave up only 145 total yards and allowed the Jets’ offense into field-goal range only once in 12 possessions. The Jets running game only gained 45 yards which was better than Mark Sanchez’ QB passing rating of 39.9.
One thing missing in the Vikings loss was sacks by the defense. The D made sure they would not be shut down again in the sack category with Aldon Smith leading the way by registering two of the team’s three sacks. Late in the second quarter, Smith sacked and stripped Sanchez which set up a field goal and allowed the 49ers to have a 10-0 lead heading into halftime. The fumble was recovered by Justin Smith.
The 49ers D continued its dominance into the second half as they only allowed the Jets’ offense to reach San Francisco’s 42-yard line. The game was put away early in the fourth quarter by Carlos Rogers who recovered his second fumble of the today after Santonio Holmes dropped the football after a catch and ran it back 51 yards for a touchdown, and a 24-0 Niners lead. He had his first fumble recovery of the game in the second quarter. Patrick Willis and NaVorro Bowman showed once again why they are the best and most feared middle linebacker duo in the NFL with a combined 18 tackles in the game. Willis also recorded an interception on the Jets’ opening drive of the second half. The pass was tipped by Ray McDonald.
Stat of the game: The Jets’ 12 possessions ended with seven punts, four turnovers and a blocked punt
The 49ers had another great performance by the special teams unit against the Jets. Larry Grant blocked a punt in the fourth quarter that led to the Niners final touchdown. Andy Lee never fails to impress as he dropped two punts inside the Jets’ 4-yard line. No, not two punts inside the 20-yard line, but inside the 4-yard line.
Ted Ginn Jr. played for the first time this season and handled the punt returns well. He had four returns for 40 yards. The 49ers only had one kickoff return, the opening drive of the game, and it was handled by Kyle Williams who ran for 25 yards. Eventually Ginn will take over the kickoff returns as well but special team’s coach Brad Seely probably did not want to have him handling both after coming back from an injury.
David Akers made field goals of 36 and 40 yards but he missed from 55 and 40 yards. Although the missed field goals did not matter in this game, Akers needs to make both of those field goals. The missed 55-yard field goal is understandable, but we know Akers can boot it that far.
Since Jim Harbaugh took over for the 49ers, they have had four regular-season losses. After each loss the 49ers bounced back with four wins, outscored opponents 93-11 in the games and the defense has not allowed a touchdown. Something tells me Harbaugh really hates losing and he does all he can to make sure it does not happen for a second straight game.
Harbaugh developed a game plan that got back to the roots of what made last season so successful for the 49ers. They controlled the running game with 245 yards, stopped the opponents running game only allowing 45 yards and won the turnover battle causing three fumbles and one interception. With the defense shutting down the Jets running game, this meant defensive coordinator Vic Fangio made the offense throw the football more than they wanted to, which led to turnovers.
They way offensive coordinator Greg Roman ran the football was not typical of the 49ers where it just featured Gore and Hunter. Roman had nine different players rush the football. In the first quarter he called two QB read options for Kaepernick, an end around to Mario Manningham that ended in a 28-yard gain and a first down, which set up a QB sweep by Kaepernick that resulted in a 7-yard TD.