Week 16: The 49ers Score 44 Points on Jags’ №1 Defense
Since taking the reigns, 49ers’ Jimmy Garoppolo is now 4–0. Sunday’s latest victory over the Jaguars has officially put the entire NFL on notice.
Jaguars 33 49ers 44
Against the league’s top ranked Jaguars’ defense, 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo earned his most impressive win of the season. The Jaguars headed into this game 10–4 playoff bound but were hoping to secure a first round bye — but are now the third seed in the AFC Conference after this loss. Considering how the 49ers handled the Jaguars on Sunday, they might be the hottest team in the NFL, period.
Jimmy The God
How else do you describe the impact that Garoppolo has had on this team? The Jaguars came into the game having allowed the fewest points and yards passing in the league. Their defense had been playing at an historic level. That same defense just allowed 44 points to a team that had been out of playoff contention a long time ago, having started the season 0–9. The biggest variable that Garoppolo has brought into this offense has been their ability to stay on the field and extend drives. The 49ers were 10-for-15 on 3rd down conversions as Garoppolo finished the day 21-for-30 for 242 passing yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also added on another rushing touchdown on the opening drive — the first 49ers opening touchdown of the season.
Can’t say how impressed I am to see how much the rookies have contributed this season. 49ers GM John Lynch did a massive overhaul this offseason and with a combination to injuries, several rookies were forced into action — and they’ve responded accordingly. Linebacker Reuben Foster excelled on run defense with five solo tackles and is now the fourth overall ranked linebacker at 91.7 per Pro Football Focus. Defensive tackle Solomon Thomas had one his best games of the season with six tackles and one sack. In the secondary, Adrian Colbert and Ahkello Witherspoon combined for nine tackles, two pass deflections, and one interception. Lastly, receiver Trent Taylor and George Kittle are looking like gems in the fifth round as they both contributed with touchdown catches, respectively.
One underlying concern amidst the 49ers’ victory is how close the Jaguars were despite the 49ers outplaying them. It was was tied 16–16 at halftime; the Jaguars ended the first half with two touchdowns in the final five minutes of play. Fast forward as the 49ers got it back up to a comfortable 37–19 before the Jaguars once again got with striking distance towards making the comeback. They scored a pair of quick touchdowns thanks to an onside kick recovery and got it to 37–33 before the 49ers broke away with a 30-touchdown run by Matt Breida. Considering that Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles struggled early with three interceptions, they stilled produced 472 yards of total offense. The 49ers need a find a better way to close games with narrow victories to the Chicago Bears, Tennessee Titans, and Houston Texans.
This is probably the 49ers’ most impressive win of the season against one the league’s toughest defenses — a true barometer to how impactful Garoppolo has been on this team. The 49ers will head into the offseason on a very high note with plenty of momentum on their side.
The San Francisco 49ers play at Los Angeles for the final game of the season.