Niners Live got the holiday football party started early with our pre-game article of the week: Jimmy G and the Offense Must Run Right at the Sacksonville Jaguars. And Santa brought the Faithful an early Christmas present; Jimmy Garoppolo and the 49ers tame the Jacksonville Jaguars no pun, intended, of course.
Jimmy G and the offense performance vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars:
Garoppolo completed 21 of 30 passes for 242 yards, 3 total TD’s, 1 via rushing and 1 int while posting a final QBR of 87.0 and a 102.4 RTG. Jimmy G completed 70.0 percent of his passes while being pressured 25 percent of the time.
Those 2 receiving touchdowns came from TE George Kittle (3 catches for 42 yards) and WR Trent Taylor (3 catches for 19 yards). But FB/TE Kyle Juszczyk earned his money and his Pro Bowl invitation with 5 catches for 76 yards.
And WR Marquise Goodwin had a quiet afternoon with 3 catches for 37 yards, but he still opened plays up for the other guys because of his hot productive streak the last few games and his world-class speed.
Jimmy G was sacked just once while being hit 4 times. The offensive line deserves a game ball as they were up against the NFL leader in sacks (52). On paper, this line was supposed to be overmatched by a defensive line that featured two pro bowlers; DE Calais Campbell (14.5 sacks) and DT Malik Jackson (8 sacks).
Niners Live told you in our pre-game article that not only did the offensive line have to be physical at the point of attack and protect Jimmy G, they also had to open up holes in the running game for Carlos Hyde ( 54 yards on 21 carries, 3 catches for 19 yards and 1 TD) and Matt Breida (74 yards on 11 carries and 1 TD) and bust these guys in the mouth and run north and south right at them.
Final Grade – A+: The offense totaled 369 yards (131 yards coming on the ground on 35 carries) on 66 plays that generated 26 first downs while going 10 for 15 on 3rd down and 4 for 6 in the red zone.
The 49ers and Jags were close in time of possession 29:11 to 30:49 Jags.
Head coach Kyle Shanahan called his best play-calling game of the season (with a season-high of 44 points scored). And by his offense, as we said in the pre-game article had a balanced attack; 30 pass plays called and 35 runs called. Shanahan had the #1 defense on their heels all day with the short passing game, play-action, bootlegs, personnel groupings and spreading the wealth at will; (9 different players caught passes via ESPN.com) the Jags didn’t know where the attack/assault was coming from and it frustrated them with several personal foul penalties.
Reuben Foster and the Defense
Foster was again his normal, hard-hitting self; just ask running back Leonard Fournette (48 yards on 18 carries at 2.7 yards per rush and 1 TD). Foster got a little banged up but he’s good. LB Brock Coyle led the 49ers in tackles with 8 total tackles (4 being solo).
The defense collectively made Fournette a non-factor in the game. D-line mates DeForest Buckner (3 tackles, 2 being solo, 1 pass breakup, and 1 QB hit ) and Solomon Thomas (6 total tackles, 1 being solo, 1 sack, 1 tackle for a loss and 1 QB hit) came to play.
DE Tank Carradine showed up in the stat column with 4 tackles, all solo, as he helped contain Fournette, as well.
Struggling CB Dontae Johnson had a mixed bag of reviews. He was burned several times in the game, but he more than made up for it with a pick 6 TD return of 50 yards to the house to go with 6 tackles, 5 being solo, and 1 pass break-up. In the box safety, Eric Reid contributed to Johnsons int by his coverage and presence on the play and on the field (5 solo tackles total and 1 QB hit).
Eraser free safety Adrian Colbert dropped a sure-handed interception, but did have 6 solo tackles total.
CB Ahkello Witherspoon and nickel back K’Waun Williams both managed to pick off quarterback Blake Bortles twice collectively with Williams coming one-handed). Spoon and Williams combined for (8 tackles and 4 pass breakups).
Final Grade – C+: The defense gave up 472 total yards (380 coming from the passing game) on 79 plays that generated 32 first downs to the Jags’ offense. The 49ers’ defense held the Jags to 92 yards rushing as a team. The Jags went 5 for 13 on 3rd down; 2 for 2 on 4th down and 4 for 4 in the red zone (not good). The 49ers’ defense gave up 33 points but did force 3 turnovers (that’s why they earned the +) but only managed to sack Bortles 1 time while hitting him 5. The 49ers’ defense surrendered 32 catches on the day as a whole and allowed a rookie WR to at times dominate (Keelan Cole had 6 catches for 108 yards at 18 yards per catch).
Jimmy G and the 49ers exposed and outplayed the Jacksonville Jaguars
The 49ers struck first blood and racked up 10 quick points early in the first quarter on the self-proclaimed best defense in the last decade or so. The Jacksonville players and team came in full of themselves, boasting like it would be an easy day at the office in hats and t-shirts ala.. (LB Telvin Smith). Overconfident and underestimating the 49ers would be their downfall as the Jags couldn’t take a page from Jimmy G’s script of being calm, cool and collected. No, instead they got exposed for their lack of composure and team unity which made them turn on each other on the sidelines; offense, defense, and position coaches.
The 49ers weren’t playing around with the Jags, 35 rushes in the game lets you know that this team wanted to take the fight right to them and bust them right in the mouth. The running game wore this defense out based on the attempts and the physicality and violent disposition that was displayed by this offensive line, running back’s and blockers as a whole.
The 49ers outplayed the Jags, going toe-to-toe with this team and especially their defense. The sporting world found out that the Jags can’t take a punch because the 49ers had that chin in check early and often and for most of the game.
Coaching call out: The 49ers’ defensive coordinator Robert Saleh needs a game ball ( from inside intel on the Jags personnel and scheme) which he received after the game by coach Shanahan. Are your eyes wide open?
When the Jags finally realized they were getting outplayed and exposed they self-destructed even more so with personal foul penalties that derailed their hopes of a comeback. Penalties that tallied up in the end to 12 for 99 yards. For the first time this season, the 49ers became the bully on Christmas Eve.
If the Jags didn’t read the scouting report before the game on Jimmy G, they can read it now; quick release, accuracy, ball placement, mobility, arm strength, throws with anticipation while being poised under pressure and throws decisively while maintaining that calm, cool and collected demeanor in the face of pressure. That’s the story and I’m sticking to it…..#GONINERS
49er updates, interviews and news:
Jags postgame comments: Jaguars QB Blake Bortles said the pick six was his fault. WR Keelan Cole read the coverage correctly. It was zone and he was supposed to find the hole and sit. Bortles led him with the throw. The Jaguars have lost 9 straight games in the Pacific Time Zone by an average of 19.8 points.
Please join us again soon on Niners Live, the home of the faithful fan and analyst from an objective/analytical lens, of course. Often imitated, but never duplicated.
All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Content Creator, Editor, Sequoia Sims