The San Francisco 49ers made the New England Patriots look like a Junior Varsity team in Foxborough. This injury-riddled 49ers team just gave Bill Belichick his biggest defeat at home as the Patriots head coach.
A 33-6 road victory is great, but there is still a ton to improve on over the next two weeks in order to contend for the No. 1 seed.
Sack the Quarterback
Sounds simple right? Both Kerry Hyder and Arik Armstead are in the Top-26 in NFL pressures this season and yet Hyder is the only 49ers player with more than two sacks after seven games this season.
You can see why the knock on this defense has been the pass rush. In terms of creating pressures, the defense has been great ranking fifth in the NFL in terms of quarterback pressure rate per Pro Football Reference.
Despite the number of pressures, the 49ers sit at just twelve sacks marking them a bottom-ten sack defense in the league.
These next two games are crucial against Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers, because they do their most damage once plays go off-script much like Carson Wentz and Kyler Murray in two games the 49ers lost.
A second Wide Receiver needs to step up
The second-year wide receiver Deebo Samuel started to look more and more healthy each week since returning from a broken foot. But, now Samuel is likely to miss the next two games per Kyle Shanahan.
Brandon Aiyuk is looking better than advertised already so I have complete confidence he will show up. It’s the other guys I am concerned about.
Seattle’s secondary may be awful this season but they still have two respectable corners in Quinton Dunbar and Shaquill Griffin if he can give it a go after suffering a concussion last Sunday. Meanwhile Green Bay has one of the top young corners in the league with Jaire Alexander.
Kendrick Bourne will be tasked to fix his recent drop problem immediately and, if Trent Taylor can grow about three more inches taller and put on about fifteen more pounds of muscle, that would help tremendously.
But in all seriousness, Dante Pettis has burned this Seattle secondary before. Why not give him a final shot to improve his trade market slightly?
Get up early and keep the foot on the gas pedal
Last season in Week 10 when the 49ers hosted the Seattle Seahawks on Monday night, the 49ers jumped out to an early 10-point lead and then let Seattle back into the game and eventually lost in overtime after the 49ers replacement kicker kicked a potential game-winner into the tunnel.
Why do I bring this up?
Well, the 49ers jumped out to a 13-point lead the second time they faced the Seahawks last season just to get saved by the tackle heard around the world -- when linebacker Dre Greenlaw crushed Jacob Hollister an inch short of the goal line.
San Francisco led both games by two scores and let Seattle back into the game both times. Considering the number of injuries the 49ers have -- that can not happen this time.
Next Man Up
That has been the slogan all season and they’ll have to continue that recipe moving forward.
Successfully pressure Wilson and Rodgers to avoid the off-script plays, a receiver not named Aiyuk step up in Samuel’s absence, and all gas no breaks on both sides off the ball.
If the 49ers can improve on those aspects, then they could certainly see themselves back into the hunt for the NFC’s No. 1 seed.