The San Francisco 49ers’ early season struggles seem less concerning now that they have won four games in a row. In Sunday’s win over the Tennessee Titans, which improved the team’s record to 5-2, a well-rounded 49ers team handily beat the Titans on offense, defense, and special teams. All cylinders are clicking for this team that next faces the winless Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
Offensively, Colin Kaepernick’s performance seemed much improved as he used both his arm and his legs to keep the offense rolling. Kaepernick completed 13 of 21 passes for 199 yards and ran for 68 yards and one touchdown. That rushing touchdown in the second quarter was reminiscent of the explosive Kaepernick we saw in the 2012 playoffs. Frank Gore also shined, gaining 70 yards on 24 carries and 2 touchdowns. Vernon Davis and Anquan Boldin again were frequent targets for Kaepernick. Davis made 4 catches for 62 yards while Boldin made 5 catches for 74 yards.
Defensively, cornerback Tramaine Brock’s excellent season continued as he intercepted quarterback Jake Locker in the second quarter which eventually led to a 49ers touchdown. Converting turnovers into points has been a major factor in this four-game win streak for the 49ers. The team has also been able to get good pressure on opposing quarterbacks despite having a banged up defense. Justin Smith, playing with a sore shoulder, sacked Locker twice. Ahmad Brooks also had one sack. Patrick Willis, recuperating from a groin injury, made a team-high 9 tackles.
Adding to the 49ers’ rampant injuries this season, safeties Donte Whitner and Eric Reid were both banged up during yesterday’s game. Whitner’s knee injury does not appear to be that serious but Reid’s noticeable limping after the game is a big concern. With replacement safeties C.J. Spillman and Craig Dahl on the field at one point, the 49ers’ defense allowed a 66-yard touchdown by running back Chris Johnson. Despite struggling on that play, Spillman has otherwise provided excellent tackling on special teams this season. That unit had another great game yesterday, thanks to efforts by Spillman, Darryl Morris, and Kassim Osgood who recovered a fumble for a touchdown.
While the team still has some weak spots to fix, overall the 49ers’ offense, defense, and special teams performed very well against the Titans. Since their win streak began, the 49ers have established a solid run game, made fewer penalties, and made fewer turnovers on offense. All of those factors contributed to the win over the Titans.
Sara DeBord is an NFL writer for www.footballandfutbol.com and www.baysportsreport.com.