The San Francisco 49ers have got their swagger back. They have won 4 straight games and have done so in dominant fashion. How dominate? Well the Niners have scored 30 points in 4 straight games for the first time since 1998 when Steve Young was their quarterback. They’ve also outscored opponents 132 to 51. That’s dominance. The Niners have done it by playing smash-mouth football with Frank Gore and a dominate offensive line. They also mixed in some read-option for the first time this season last weekend against the Tennessee Titans and Colin Kaepernick responded to the tune of 68 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown.
The Niners scoring 30 for the fifth straight game seems almost inevitable, as the Jaguars are the worst team in the NFL by a long-shot. The Niners could run for 200 yards and/or they could pass for 300 yards. I think we will see them stick to their identity of running the football and wear down the Jacksonville defense. The only thing that could hamper the Niners would be traveling across the Atlantic Ocean to London, but even then the Niners will win by at least 2 touchdowns. If everything goes according to plan, the Niners will head into their bye week at 6-2, winners of 5 straight and in really good position for the second half of the season.
Even though the Niners brought out the read option against the Titans, it doesn’t mean we will see it every week. Jim Harbaugh said that it’s something that will come and go accordingly. “Sometimes you bring it out,” 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said of the read option. “Then, we put it away. We will bring it back out. It’s such a great tool to have. It’s such a club in our bag.” It’s good to see that the Niners have the read option in their back pocket because that’s their ultimate x factor come postseason, as we saw against Green Bay last year.
What gets lost in the shuffle a little bit is Kaepernick’s play at quarterback recently. He’s coming off one of his best game as pro this past Sunday. He completed 13 of his 21 passes for 199 yards and a passer rating of 93.2. However, the most impressive stat is the near perfect QBR rating of 99 that he posted, which is the highest in the NFL this season. Kaep has been efficient the last 4 games and sort of doing what Alex Smith did well for the Niners last year, which is manage the game and don’t make any mistakes. As long as Kaep plays the way he’s been playing, the Niners will be in prime position for another postseason run.
Another thing to illustrate that the Niners swagger is back is the play of their defense. The Niners defense not only is forcing turnovers (12) in the last 4 games, but they are playing physical and looking like the defense from the past couple of seasons. The Niners are a team that goes as their running game and defense go and right now both of those things are rolling at the highest level possible. The Niners players talked about forcing turnovers as the key to their success. They’ve come up big in that department lately. When the Niners are forcing turnovers, they are giving their offense a short field to work with as well as getting a strangle hold over the opposing offense and telling them that you can’t do anything against us.
The Niners aren’t a finished product, as they still have injuries and their full team isn’t back yet; specifically wide receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham. The Niners have shown that they are good enough to win without those guys. They’ve had Anquan Boldin continue to produce as the number one receiver, Vernon Davis is rediscovering his form as the All Pro Tight End that he is and Frank Gore is continuing his march toward the Hall of Fame with more rushing yards and touchdowns. The Niners win as a team and lose as a team and right now they have everything working for them, and they will only get better as the season progresses.