23/02/2024

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Bye does 49ers well, as San Francisco travels and dominates contending Jaguars

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Bye does 49ers well, as San Francisco travels and dominates contending Jaguars

“We want to be great. We want to be dominant, and we want to play at a high level. And we know our team is going to need us to do that.”

Deebo Samuel returned from a three-game absence and added a 23-yard scoring run for the 49ers (6-3), who stopped Jacksonville’s five-game winning streak and reestablished themselves as a favorite in the NFC.

San Francisco dominated both lines of scrimmage and controlled the game from the opening drive. The Niners ran for 144 yards against one of the league’s top run defenses and sacked Trevor Lawrence five times. Nick Bosa was a menace all afternoon, and newly acquired defensive end Chase Young got in on one of the sacks.

“Having him is such a big threat,” Bosa said. “I think we played off of each other well.”

The Jaguars (6-3), meanwhile, looked nothing like a legit playoff contender. They had a five-possession stretch in which they fumbled, kicked a field goal, threw an interception, fumbled, and threw another interception. Lawrence was responsible for three of the team’s four turnovers in Jacksonville’s worst home loss since 2019.

“I think you have got to feel the pain and embarrassment of today,” Lawrence said. “It’s terrible. It’s one of the worst games I’ve probably played in my career. … We couldn’t do anything right, but you got to flush it, too.”

“This was definitely a humbling experience,” Jaguars coach Doug Pederson said.

Kittle had three catches for 116 yards. Christian McCaffrey finished with 142 total yards, but his streak of consecutive games with a TD (including the playoffs) ended at 17. Tied with Lenny Moore for the NFL record, the Niners tried to get him the mark by giving him the ball or targeting him on five consecutive plays in a 31-point game while other starters had been removed.

”It means a lot to me for them to keep me in the game at the end there and try to get me that record,” McCaffrey said, “but I’ll take a huge win.”

Purdy completed 19 of 26 passes for 296 yards, giving way to Sam Darnold in the fourth with a 148.9 QB rating.

Cardinals 25, Falcons 23 — In Glendale, Ariz., Kyler Murray threw for 249 yards and ran for a touchdown in his first game since tearing his ACL last December, Matt Prater made a game-winning 23-yard field goal as time expired, and Arizona (2-8) snapped a six-game losing streak. Murray’s 13-yard scramble on third-and-10 — and later hitting tight end Trey McBride on a 33-yard pass — helped keep Arizona’s game-winning drive alive. McBride finished with eight catches for 131 yards, and James Conner ran for 73 yards. Atlanta (4-6) pushed ahead, 23-22, with 2:33 remaining on Desmond Ridder’s 9-yard run to the left corner of the end zone, but its 2-point conversion failed. Ridder started the team’s first eight games before losing his job to Taylor Heinicke, but was forced into the game in the fourth quarter after Heinicke hurt his hamstring.

Steelers 23, Packers 19 — Jaylen Warren and Najee Harris combined for 183 yards rushing and two touchdowns as Pittsburgh (6-3) won its ninth straight game decided by eight points or less despite again being outgained on offense. The Steelers used touchdown runs by their two backs and Chris Boswell’s three field goals to head into a pivotal stretch with momentum. Patrick Peterson blocked an extra point and added a tipped ball that turned into Keanu Neal’s interception in the end zone with 3:20 remaining. Green Bay (3-6) got the ball back with 59 seconds to go and drove deep into Pittsburgh territory, but Jordan Love’s last-gasp throw to the end zone was picked off by Damontae Kazee.

Vikings 27, Saints 19 — Joshua Dobbs kept an injury-thinned offense on track in his first start, throwing for a career-high 268 yards and totaling two touchdowns to help Minnesota (6-4) win its fifth straight. T.J. Hockenson outgained New Orleans (5-5) by himself in the first half with 10 catches for 128 yards and a score; the Vikings stalled out after building a 27-3 lead, but hung on thank to Mekhi Blackmon and Byron Murphy interceptions in the fourth quarter. After Derek Carr was forced out in the third quarter with a concussion and a shoulder injury, Jameis Winston delivered touchdown passes to Chris Olave and A.T. Perry, and Alvin Kamara contributed vital 2-point conversion runs to get the Saints close.

Buccaneers 20, Titans 6 — Baker Mayfield threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns to help host Tampa Bay (4-5) stop its four-game losing streak. A week after the Bucs yielded five TD passes and a NFL rookie record 470 yards to Houston’s C.J. Stroud, Will Levis was sacked four times and intercepted once while failing to get Tennessee (3-6) into the end zone in his first game since being named the full-time starter. The Titans totaled just 42 yards on the ground on 16 carries as well. Meanwhile, Rachaad White turned a first-quarter Mayfield screen pass into a 43-yard TD. Mike Evans redeemed himself for dropping a pass in the end zone with a 22-yard scoring catch and finished with six receptions for 143 yards.

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