After scuffling horribly earlier this season, the 49ers have rediscovered their winning ways with back-to-back victories and suddenly look… dominant.
The San Francisco 49ers needed a winning streak in the worst possible way, and after two games, they collected impressive wins in back-to-back weeks.
Who would have thought after what was going on during that four-game losing streak?
After man-handling a revamped Los Angeles Rams team during Week 10, then dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars a week later, one can’t help but wonder if the Niners have truly turned the corner. After all, San Francisco outscored those two opponents 61-20 over the course of that two-week stretch.
True, the 49ers dug themselves a huge early hole by losing five of six games and currently have a not-great 5-5 record, but the Niners have nevertheless looked dominant in consecutive wins.
Let’s delve into all possibilities and explore what the team’s mindset should be moving forward.
49ers needed a win streak to find their groove
A dominant performance fueled by solid cohesion and great complementary football is exactly what this team needed.
San Francisco entered Week 10 on the heels of an embarrassing stretch of football and was pretty much written off as playoff participants. After facing a substantial amount of criticism recently, the 49ers have easily played their best football of 2021 to date. During that two-game stretch, the Niners forced four defensive takeaways while not turning the ball over on offense.
Notably, there haven’t been too many games this season where defense converted into offense, however, San Francisco had plans to change the narrative.
After making a few blockbuster moves to acquire some prominent talent, the Rams were heavy favorites in the Week 10 matchup. With the acquisition of star linebacker and Super Bowl 50’s MVP, Von Miller, along with one of the NFL’s most prolific wide receivers in Odell Beckham Jr., it’s no wonder the Rams were so heavily favored in that game.
Unfortunately for Los Angeles, it seems like it overlooked the 49ers in an extra effort to show off their shiny new toys, which may have cost them the game.
The Jacksonville Jaguars suffered the same fate against a Niners team, too. San Francisco once again dominated the line of scrimmage and was able to control the flow of the game from start to finish. For the second week in a row, the 49ers had an opening-score drive of 15-plus plays, and although the opening drive didn’t produce a touchdown, the 20-play domination ended with a field goal and took the wind out of the Jaguars’ defensive sails.
It has been an impressive showing for the Niners in their last two games, which has made it more enjoyable to watch them play inspired football again. Yes, San Francisco still has quite an uphill battle to climb, but at least now the team finds itself back in the playoff mix.
49ers defense is no longer the maligned unit it once was
For a defense that’s been starving for turnovers, the 49ers were able to generate four in the past two games.
Safety Jimmie Ward, the Niners’ longest-tenured player, had a tremendous game versus the Rams as he racked up two interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. The entire defense as a whole truly upped its level of play in recent weeks and are now looking more like the group many thought it would be.
This was a huge step in the right direction for San Francisco’s defense because of their earlier struggles to generate stops and get off the field. Luckily, the defense appears to be back on track with playmakers making the plays they’re expected to. The defensive front is finally getting home to opposing quarterbacks and the secondary has looked like a completely different unit.
Consider this: The 49ers held their last two opponents to 10 points apiece while affording the offense at least 30 points in both contests. The Niners finally have all three phases of the game working for them, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
As the season progresses with each passing week, San Francisco has a golden opportunity to further solidify a playoff spot. With seven games left on the schedule, every game is just as important as the last. The playoff race is heating up because of how good the NFC has become, so the 49ers can ill afford any letdowns.
As the Niners gear up for a monumental Week 12 matchup versus the 5-5 Minnesota Vikings, San Francisco must continue its dominance in the trenches on both sides of the ball. The defense has to maintain its level of intensity while eliminating explosive plays and costly penalties.
If the 49ers can do these things for the next seven weeks, it’ll make for a real interesting postseason.