Things the 49ers Must Do to Beat the Jaguars
If they win
they’ll be 6-3, and right back in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If they lose, they’ll be 5-4, they’ll have a four-game losing streak and they’ll be in danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
Sunday is a must-win game for the 49ers.
If they win, they’ll be 6-3, and right back in the race for the No. 1 seed in the NFC. If they lose, they’ll be 5-4, they’ll have a four-game losing streak and they’ll be in danger of missing the playoffs entirely.
Here are five things the 49ers have to do to beat the Jaguars and get their season back on track:
1. The 49ers need to take an early lead.
They simply aren’t built to play from behind. They’re built to score first, hold the lead with suffocating defense, and play slow, complementary football that uses up the clock. That means walking to the line of scrimmage, doing tons of shifts and motions before the snap, then running the ball as much as possible and using play action to complement that attack. The past few weeks, the 49ers have fallen behind early and haven’t been able to come back. This week, if they win the coin toss, they should elect to receive the opening kickoff, because their defense isn’t good enough right now to stop anyone.
2. Nick Bosa and Chase Young need to set edges and stop the run.
The 49ers think the addition of Chase Young will super charge Nick Bosa and the 49ers’ pass rush. But before they can rush the quarterback, they have to stop the run and force third down and long. And so far this season, Bosa hasn’t stopped the run well. And neither has Young — that’s a big reason Washington traded him for a late third-round pick. He apparently abandons his gap in the run game to pursue the quarterback. He needs to think run-defense first against the Jaguars.
3. The cornerbacks need to play press man-to-man coverage.
The Jaguars have a terrible offensive line, and they work around it by throwing lots of quick passes — screens, RPOs, etc. The best way to take those away is to play tight press man-to-man coverage. Contest those short throws. Force the wide receivers to run routes down field and get open. Force the offensive line to block. Force Trevor Lawrence to read the entire field from the pocket. Put nickelback Isaiah Oliver on tight end Evan Engram, and put Deommodore Lenoir on Christian Kirk. Match up appropriately and live with the results. Hopefully, Charvarius Ward won’t commit eight holding penalties.
4. Kyle Shanahan needs to get creative with his run game.
The creativity left last year when Mike McDaniel became the head coach of the Dolphins. To compensate, Shanahan traded for Christian McCaffrey, and simply gave him the ball as much as possible. This strategy wasn’t particularly creative, but it was effective for a while. Now it’s not working — McCaffrey hasn’t gained more than 54 yards on the ground since Week 4. It’s time for Shanahan to show something new. Something unexpected. Because the same old run game won’t work this week. The Jaguars run defense is so good. Shanahan would be smart to use Deebo Samuel as a runner as much as possible. That’s what McDaniel would do.
5. Brock Purdy needs to not turn the ball over.
The past few weeks, the 49ers needed Purdy to step up and win games for them, and he failed miserably. This week, they’ll have Deebo Samuel and most likely will have Trent Williams, too, which means the 49ers won’t need Purdy to be a hero and win the game. They merely will need him to be himself and not lose it. Because the past two games, he lost the game by committing four turnovers in the fourth quarter, the most critical moment. He choked. This is the week for him to show he’s not a choker