USA TODAY US Edition
Clicking 49ers stack wins, put NFL on notice
The San Francisco 49ers swept their season series against the Rams, got healthy during a Week 9 bye and then outmuscled the Chargers 22-16 Sunday night to complete a season sweep of Los Angeles’ two NFL teams.
In the process, the 49ers demonstrated that they are one of the league’s best teams that’s finding its stride midway through the season.
The past two performances the 49ers (5-4) put on tape should put the rest of the league on notice.
“Overall, I thought we played our best team, just the cleanest game against the Rams a couple weeks ago. That was great momentum that we felt. I thought it was the first time we done that consistently in all three phases. I really wanted to pick up off that this week,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said postgame. “I was proud of our team today.”
The Chargers outplayed the 49ers in the first half. Los Angeles went into the locker room with a 16-10 advantage. But the second half was all San Francisco.
San Francisco’s No. 1-ranked defense allowed only 52 yards after halftime and shut out a depleted Chargers offense in the second half. The defense contained Justin Herbert to a season-low 196 passing yards in the game.
“We made some adjustments at halftime. Just continued to be physical,” said 49ers safety Talanoa Hufanga, who had a game-sealing interception late in the fourth quarter. “We wanted to get after them upfront.”
San Francisco’s offense gashed the short-handed Chargers defense for 106 yards and a touchdown rushing in the second half.
“At the end of the third quarter and fourth quarter, that’s when we really started running the ball and really putting it to them. We could see the defense, they were very tired,” said 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell, who hadn’t played since Week 1 due to a knee injury. “We definitely felt it.”
The 49ers played their style of football in their convincing 31-14 Week 8 victory against the Rams and in the final two quarters versus the Chargers in Week 10.
San Francisco amassed 157 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns on 41 carries and the defense limited the Chargers to 238 total yards.
“We ran the football (41) times. I think whenever the 49ers do that, it’s gonna be a pretty good day,” San Francisco pass rusher Nick Bosa said.
It’s been a pretty good two straight games for the 49ers. They have found their identity. They are a run-oriented West Coast offense that plays physical, hard-nosed stingy defense.
The 49ers are healthy and finding their stride just in time for the stretch run. Winners of two in a row, the 49ers close out the month of November against two teams with losing records (Week 11 vs. the Arizona Cardinals and Week 12 vs. the New Orleans Saints).
San Francisco is 3-0 in the NFC West and control their own destiny after the
Seattle Seahawks lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to drop to 6-4 on the season. Both teams are tied in the loss column.
However, it’s the 49ers who are playing some of the best football in the NFL. They are in the driver’s seat in the NFC West – and the rest of the NFL should be on notice.