And just like that, the 49ers are .500.
It isn't easy being able to get up for a low-level team across the country on a short week, but the 49ers showed their mettle today. They could have easily folded or showed up slow. Yet, they treated the Jaguars like a team they needed to handle convincingly.
The 49ers are becoming serious playoff contenders following their win over the Jaguars.
Everything is coming together perfectly for this team. Kyle Shanahan has found his rhythm with the play calling, Jimmy Garoppolo is playing his role, the running game is effective, and the defense continues to stand firm.
The 49ers are now 5-5 and are well within striking distance of playoff contention. Defeating the Rams on primetime is looking like the win they needed to wake themselves up. That probably doesn't happen if they do not sleepwalk against the Cardinals in Week 9. With all facets of the team clicking on all cylinders, there is one specific player that is really making the heaviest impact.
That player is Deebo Samuel.
Samuel has officially thrown his hat in the ring for Offensive Player of the Year. With how he has been utilized all over the offense and is essentially the team MVP, he deserves to be the lead candidate right now. Samuel is just on another level. No other player on the 49ers is touching the impact he has. He is making plays at receiver, running back, and a blocker. There is no other player in the league like Samuel who can simply do it all at such a high-level.
Having Samuel dominate as he does not only benefits the 49ers because of his production, but because he can steal attention from other players. Suddenly, defenses will have to think twice about keying in on George Kittle. Brandon Aiyuk will become more an impact player as he was today with seven catches for 85 yards and a score. The 49ers are looking scary. This win may have been against a porous Jaguars team, but you just cannot overlook the challenge it is to fall asleep on a team like them.
And given how the 49ers have looked the majority of the season, this easily could have been a game where they shoot themselves in the foot. They haven't done any of that the last two games. They finally look like a team who are imprinting their will on a game. This run that the 49ers are on needs to continue as it does not get easier for them when they host the Vikings next week. That'll certainly be one that they have to have for playoff purposes.
Two wins in a row has the image of the 49ers looking different. It may be premature, but I think it is right. We will all know for certain how much of a corner this team has turned against the Vikings.