The 49ers pulled off a much-needed win in Week 8 over the Bears, and these four stats suggest the Niners are getting back on the right track.
Coming off a four-game losing streak and looking hard at the reality of another 10-loss season, head coach Kyle Shanahan needed his players to bring their A-game in what could have been yet another disaster for the Niners.
Or, potentially, the sign things are getting back on the right track.
Fortunately, the 33-22 victory for San Francisco suggests the latter. And despite some woes from the 49ers defense against Bears quarterback Justin Fields, there were enough positive takeaways to hint at the thought Shanahan’s squad has put their earlier woes behind them.
And these four statistics are pretty good indicators of the Niners being back on the right track.
No. 4: 49ers committed precisely zero pass-interference calls
A week before during San Francisco’s rain-soaked Week 7 loss to the Indianapolis Colts, one of the negative themes was just how poor 49ers defensive backs were in pass coverage, flagged a whopping four times for pass-interference calls.
In effect, Colts quarterback Carson Wentz’s strategy on third downs was to simply chuck a ball deep and wait for the Niners to smother the intended receiver, drawing a penalty as a result.
Entering Week 8, San Francisco had been flagged a league-high 11 times for pass interference, three of those declined, putting an emphasis during practices leading up to Sunday’s game of not committing these infractions.
It must have worked.
While cornerback Josh Norman was flagged for defensive holding on one play, the 49ers weren’t flagged for pass interference at all.
The yellow flags were still something of a negative factor for the Niners, who were penalized seven times for 55 yards. But not allowing those chunk gains as the result of a pass-interference call surely helped.
And it’s a trend San Francisco hopes will continue in the coming weeks.