The San Francisco 49ers season has been a wild roller-coaster ride through nine games.
First came the dominant 5-0 start in which the offense scored 30-plus points every week while the defense allowed 13.6 points per contest. Then there was the three-game losing skid, wherein Brock Purdy turned the ball over, the Niners scored exactly 17 points in every loss, and the defense got scorched for long stretches.
The Niners got back on track Sunday, blowing out Jacksonville on the road, 34-3, coming off their bye week. Star defensive tackle Javon Hargrave admitted on KNBR’s “Murph & Mac” show that San Francisco let their guard down after a hot start to the season, which led to the losing streak.
“Yeah, it’s hard not to,” Hargrave said on Tuesday, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “Everybody’s got to learn from it. Just not reading too much, not looking at too much. They say it’s like a little poison [when] everybody’s telling you how good you are. And then you can’t read and hear when everybody’s telling you how bad you are.
“Just keeping them blinders on, staying focused and just trying to grow every week.”
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The Niners narrowly lost in Cleveland on a missed field goal, and Purdy’s interception luck ran out in losses to Minnesota and Cincinnati. But key pieces returning (Trent Williams, Deebo Samuel) after the bye and adding Chase Young at the trade deadline got San Franciso back on track in a big way.
Kyle Shanahan’s club played perfect complementary football Sunday, with the defense dominating the line of scrimmage, discombobulating Trevor Lawrence, and the offense racking up 437 total yards.
“We were a little fed up,” Hargrave said. “We felt it. I think the bye was a good time for us, just to get away and get our minds right. When we got back in the building, everybody just felt it with everybody.
“It was just time. I think that’s how it was from the first snap of the game until the last snap. Everybody was just hungry. I feel like that’s going to be the mindset from here on out.”
The Niners own the talent to win the NFC, but the three-game skid showed they can also stumble in a big spot. After this Sunday’s matchup against Tampa Bay, San Francisco faces Seattle, Philadelphia, and the Seahawks again. The four-game stretch will likely determine how high the Niners’ seed is entering postseason play.
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