Week 15 Game Recap: San Francisco 49ers 9, Jacksonville Jaguars 10
What you need to know
The 49ers played hard, but were unable to score many points, in large part due to Jacksonville’s aggressive defense. Thanks to the San Francisco defense playing very well, the 49ers kept the game close and had a chance to drive for the winning score with less than two minutes remaining in the game. Alex Smith had a few moments in the game where he showed an ability to make some plays, but overall he did not have a good game. Smith showcased his arm strength on two deep passes that were caught, and was the beneficiary of Frank Gore turning a screen pass into a 47-yard pass play, but other than those plays, he did not appear comfortable. He finished with 123 yards, no touchdowns and one interception, while completing eight of his 24 pass attempts. Smith was forced to hurry a lot of his throws, and as a result overthrew several of his receivers. He had a stretch in the first half where he threw seven incomplete passes in a row and another similar futile streak in the fourth quarter, where he threw nine incomplete passes in a row.
None of the 49ers’ receivers distinguished themselves in this game. Brandon Lloyd was targeted six times in the first half, but did not play in the second half due to an injury. Johnnie Morton and Jason McAddley were targeted four times each in the second half, but only had one reception apiece for the game.
Frank Gore started in place of the injured Kevan Barlow, and had a very good game. Gore showed good quickness and speed and enough power when he ran up the middle against the Jaguars’ defense. He finished with 79 yards rushing on 19 carries, and added 57 yards on three receptions. He began strongly, breaking several tackles on some of his runs, but seemed to tire in the second half, as he did not break tackles and had fewer yards per carry than in the first half.
The 49ers played conservatively, in large part due to the aggressive nature of Jacksonville’s defense. They had just one red zone opportunity, which was from the ten yard line. They attempted to vary their attack from there, running Gore, and then attempting two pass plays, one resulting in a loss and Smith having to scramble out of bounds on the other. Overall, the 49ers were unable to move the ball through the air and had trouble sustaining their running game after the first half.
Despite having over ten penalties in the game, the Jaguars rode a strong defensive effort combined with effective offense to win this game. The Jaguars opened up the offense, calling for more pass plays than they had recently, but were unable to capitalize on several opportunities. David Garrard overthrew his receivers on quite a few occasions. Garrard threw the ball 40 times, with 21 completions. He had 216 yards passing with no touchdowns or interceptions. He did carry the ball five times for 27 yards, and again displayed his running ability, including a 13 yard touchdown run where he eluded several 49ers defenders. Most of Garrard’s completions were short to intermediate passes, and most of the balls he overthrew were to receivers who were open deep.
Jimmy Smith was again Jacksonville’s most productive player in the passing game. Smith was targeted 14 times, and finished with six catches for 70 yards. His numbers would have been more productive, but he was overthrown several times, including once in the end zone. Smith also had a long pass he caught ruled incomplete due to him having his left heel land out of bounds. Smith was able to get open against both single and double coverage, on both deep and shorter routes.
Fred Taylor and Greg Jones split the running duties. While they did not have any long gains, they both ran hard and effectively. Taylor had 61 yards on 17 carries, and Jones 44 yards on 12 carries. Jones left the game in the fourth quarter after sustaining an injury, but walked off under his own power after lying on the field for several minutes. Both Taylor and Jones had two receptions apiece for 13 and ten yards respectively. They both turned in solid numbers but did not have spectacular numbers in part due to being used in a running back by committee format.
Jacksonville had three opportunities in the red zone, and only recorded one touchdown and one field goal. They ran the ball on first down each time they got inside the red zone, one by Taylor, one by Jones, and the scoring run by Garrard. After the rushing attempts by Taylor and Jones, Garrard attempted passes, one to Smith in the end zone, and another to Matt Jones. The other plays were pass attempts that ended with Garrard scrambling away from San Francisco’s pass rush for minimal gains.
What you ought to know
|QB Alex Smith, Pass: 8 - 24 - 123 - 0 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 4 - 30 - 0|
Smith was under duress from the Jaguars’ pass rush most of the game, and as a result rushed many of his pass attempts. He did show some athleticism as he avoided pass rushers and showed good speed to the outside when he left the pocket. When he did have time, Smith did try to make big plays by throwing deep, and did show a strong arm, despite only connecting twice on deep pass attempts. He kept the 49ers in the game despite going long stretches without completing passes. Smith looked for Brandon Lloyd early in the game, targeting him with six of the 11 passes he threw in the first half, but overthrew him several times. After Lloyd left the game due to injury, Smith tried to spread the ball around more, but kept overthrowing his receivers.
|RB Frank Gore, Rush: 19 - 79 - 0, Rec: 3 - 57 - 0 (4 targets)|
Gore began the game very well, but appeared to tire later in the game. He had 46 yards on his first seven rushing attempts, but just 33 on his next 12 attempts. He displayed a willingness to run hard at the defenders, and showed some quickness when necessary.
Hicks did not have much playing time and was not a factor in the game.
Jackson was involved on one screen pass, and was stopped for a loss on that play.
Morton was not targeted until the second half, and like McAddley, his contribution consisted of one deep catch.
Lloyd was Smith’s favorite target in the first half, but was victimized by having some passes being off target and solid coverage by Jacksonville’s defenders. He did not play in the second half due to injury.
McAddley’s one reception was a good catch made against tight coverage. However, he was overthrown and dropped a catchable pass on other opportunities, and did not contribute otherwise. He was used mostly on deep routes, but was largely ineffective.
Jones was used primarily as a blocker when he was in the game.
The 49ers were solid against the run, and only gave up one run of over 10 yards to Jacksonville’s runners. However, that run was a 13 yard score by quarterback David Garrard. Although they did not give up big plays, the 49ers run defense allowed an average of 3.8 yards per rushing attempt, as they did not make many stops behind the line of scrimmage.
The 49ers pass defense played well throughout the game. Although they only recorded 2 sacks, the 49ers generated pressure on Garrard, forcing him to leave the pocket and throw on the run several times. They relied on the blitz to generate the pass rush, and could have been more successful had they caught two potential interception opportunities they had during the game.
|QB David Garrard, Pass: 21 - 40 - 216 - 0 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 5 - 27 - 1|
Garrard had several opportunities to make big plays downfield, but overthrew several of his receivers. He was more accurate on his intermediate throws, and, while he targeted Jimmy Smith the most, threw to many different receivers throughout the game. Garrard displayed he can be effective when he leaves the pocket, as he ran with a lot of confidence and purpose, and proved to be a dual threat to score when inside the red zone. Jacksonville continued to show confidence in him, as they called several deep pass plays throughout the game. Garrard’s passing numbers were also affected by a few dropped passes, but he kept coming back to those receivers.
|RB Fred Taylor, Rush: 17 - 61 - 0, Rec: 2 - 13 - 0 (3 targets)|
Taylor also played well considering he split carries with Jones. While he did not have any long runs, Taylor ran hard and with power, and gained positive yards on the majority of his rushing attempts. He was unable to get outside and use his speed, as San Francisco’s defenders caught him before he could run past them, but Taylor turned in a workmanlike 74 combined yards.
|RB Greg Jones, Rush: 12 - 44 - 0, Rec: 2 - 10 - 0 (3 targets)|
Jones split carries with Taylor in this game, and ran with his usual determination and power. As a result of splitting carries, his numbers were not great, but he did average close to 4.0 yards per carry. He left the game late in the fourth quarter due to an injury.
Pearman’s involvement in this game was limited to one pass play, and punt returns.
Wimbush dropped a pass he should have caught, and most of his contributions were made on special teams and as the backup fullback.
Though he finished the game with decent numbers, Smith could have had a much more productive game in terms of receptions and yards. He was open several times, but had passes thrown too high, including one in the end zone. Smith was able to get open against a variety of coverages and ran all routes asked of him very well. Smith continued to be Jacksonville’s most targeted receiver.
Williams looked more comfortable in this offense and showed good speed on some deep routes he ran. He was able to get by some defenders and looked quick as he ran his routes. He had a productive game for the Jaguars and took advantage of single coverage when he had it.
|WR Matt Jones, Rush: 1 - 2 - 0, Rec: 2 - 11 - 0 (4 targets)|
Jones was not a big contributor in this game, though he did drop a pass that would have kept a Jaguars’ drive going in the second half. He also lined up at quarterback for one play, which was a designed run that he gained two yards on. Jones was thrown any deep balls in this game.
Wilford only had two receptions, but almost made a touch catch at the two yard line on a deep pass thrown to him that was well defended. He did not contribute much to the game.
Brady was used primarily for his blocking, and as an outlet receiver once.
Wrighster’s lone target was thrown over his head.
The Jaguars gave up several runs for positive yards up the middle to Frank Gore early in the game, but settled down and kept him in check the remainder of the game. After allowing an average of 6.6 yards per carry to Gore on his first seven rushing attempts, they held him to a 2.7 average afterwards. The Jaguars’ front seven was aggressive, and was able to gain penetration and disrupt most of the 49ers’ rushing attempts in the game.
The Jaguars blitzed frequently throughout this game. Although they only recorded two sacks, they pressured Smith into a lot of hurried throws, which caused him to overthrow his receivers several times. The Jaguars’ cornerbacks also did not allow San Francisco’s receivers to get open for many big plays. Their aggressive play continued up to San Francisco’s last drive, and forced incomplete passes to close out the game.