The San Francisco 49ers obliterated the Jacksonville Jaguars today 42-10. I am not the only one who wishes to apologize to British fans for the mismatch they were given this year. Nevertheless, they were able to see a good 49ers team play another good game.
Kyle Williams, after fumbling the opening kickoff (sound familiar?) had a sluggish first drive and was ineffective all game. Once again, only one wide receiver did much: Mr. Anquan Boldin. Vernon Davis got his touchdown reception, Williams got one reception for ten yards, and the 49ers’ third leading receiver on the year was the third leading receiver for the 49ers today: fullback Bruce Miller, with just two receptions for four more yards than Davis (56-52)
Other than his later fumble, Frank Gore ran like the incredible back he is. The “Inconvenient Truth,” gore had two rushing touchdowns on top of 71 yards on 19 carries (3.74 yards/carry). Colin Kaepernick was able to excite every 49er fan with his passionate, determined runs—for two touchdowns, no less. Even though he slid and avoided big hits, running Kap does not seem to be the best idea against a team such as Jacksonville. Losing him for the year would end the season.
Colt McCoy, who finally got some action in the 4th quarter, would presumably replace him. He had one completion for thirteen yards on one drive that ran out the clock. He was mainly asked to hand off to Kendall Hunter, who had a couple of insane runs. 49ers’ GM Trent Baalke will have a difficult time keeping both Hunter and LaMichael James, as they have similar running styles, but Hunter has consistently shone when his number is called.
The 49er defense looked solid for most of the first half. With the game essentially wrapped up in the second quarter, they seemed to lay off a little bit. This allowed Chad Henne to complete more throws and enabled the “London” Jaguars to move the ball down the field. I have a difficult time critiquing the defense when it played quite well while the game mattered. You never like seeing a team let up, but if it’s ever alright, this was that instance. Patrick Willis forced a fumble late in the game that surprisingly solid Dan Skuta returned for a touchdown. Navarro Bowman, unsurprisingly, played incredibly well as he once again led the team in tackles. The 49ers did end their streak of 4 straight games with an interception, but W makes up for any streak.
The 49ers won easily, yes. There are plenty of things to work on, however. Mario Manningham and Michael Crabtree, and perhaps another good receiver or two in the offseason, are desperately needed. San Francisco can’t win a Super Bowl with these receivers. Kaepernick just is not good enough (yet, hopefully). He is good enough, however, to warrant protecting. He ran safely, yes, but too much. As the 49ers go into a bye week, they’ll have time to rest, reset clocks (again, since Britain did that this past weekend), and adjust back to the Pacific Time Zone. They take on Carolina at Candlestick on November 10. With a fairly easy schedule to finish out the season, the future is looking good for this team. Hopefully, with the addition of more wideouts, this team will “peak at the right time,” in the words of Greg Roman.
As a footnote, this winter I will have the privilege of meeting with NFL UK in London. I will have more on this in later posts.