49ers-Jaguars: What to watch for
The San Francisco 49ers (5-2) ride into Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars (0-7) at Wembley Stadium in London on the crest of a four-game tear.
Having scored 30-plus points in each of the last games, the 49ers should expect to reach that mark again versus the Jaguars’ 28th-ranked defense and NFL’s worst offense.
Here are a few things to watch for on game day:
Ground game vs. bad defense
The 49ers possess the league’s third-ranked rushing attack averaging 143 yards on 33 carries per game with Frank Gore, Kendall Hunter, Anthony Dixon, and Colin Kaepernick combining for 11 touchdowns.
Pounding the rock remains the 49ers best and most reliable offensive option. The 49ers lead the NFL with 12 runs of 20-plus yards.
San Francisco has a Pro Bowl-caliber offensive line and Jacksonville gets no penetration against anyone. The Jaguars have given up an NFL-high 1,073 rushing yards through seven weeks, roughly 153 yards per game.
Get the picture? Tune in and watch the 49ers rack up the yards and score.
Emergence of Tramaine Brock
Since taking over the No. 3 cornerback role in Week 4, Brock has put up All-Pro stats totaling 10 tackles, six passes defensed, and three interceptions including a return for touchdown.
Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne has thrown five picks in six games. He’s due to toss one this week and Brock could be the recipient.
Brock will be covering either Ace Sanders or Stephen Burton — both unproven wide receivers — and possibly tight end Marcedes Lewis. All of these matchups favor Brock.
Special teams tackling
Brad Seely’s unit features three of the NFL’s top 20 special teams tacklers in safety C.J. Spillman, linebacker Michael Wilhoite, and wide receiver Kassim Osgood, who have combined for 22 tackles.
Osgood recovered a fumble in the endzone for a touchdown last Sunday at Tennessee, a play made possible by rookie cornerback Daryl Morris who applied the gunning pressure that caused the muffed punt.
A valued addition, Morris has three special teams tackles since being promoted from the practice squad four weeks ago.
Expect a big play from this group.
Sunday’s game is the 49ers’ second appearance in the NFL’s International Series which features games abroad. The 49ers beat the Broncos 24-16 in London on Oct. 31, 2010. … London native and rookie defensive lineman Lawrence Okoye (knee) is on injured reserve, but will be watching from the sidelines. … Game time is 10 a.m. PT with live coverage on FOX.